Kendrick Lamar has arguably had the best verse of 2024 so far. When the rapper joined Future and Metro Boomin on their new song, “Like That,” in March, it served as a defibrillator for the rap game. The lethal verse he unleashed into the world sent an electrical shock throughout the genre. A potential three-way feud between Kendrick, J. Cole and Drake as a result of K-Dot’s bars has given the genre an explosion of energy not seen in 2023.

Cultural impact aside, Kendrick’s lyrics effectively straddle the line between subliminal and targeted. The track, which appears on Metro and Future’s We Don’t Trust You album, finds Kendrick adding just enough details so fans knew, without naming names, exactly who Kung Fu Kenny was speaking about.

Breaking Down Kendrick Lamar’s “Like That” Verse

Kendrick did this by continuously playing off Drake and J. Cole’s joint song, “First Person Shooter,” as well as Drizzy’s latest album, For All the Dogs

“OK, let’s get it up, it’s time for him to prove that he’s a problem/N***as cliquin’ up, but cannot be legit, no 40 water, tell ’em,” Kendrick raps in the opening bars.

This line alone perfectly exemplifies the multiple layers of meaning Kendrick brings to each bar. On one hand, Kendrick notes that Cole and Drake appear to be “cliquin’ up” and teaming up against together. K-Dot says their partnership will never be on the same level as when E-40 joined forces with B-Legit and The Click back in 1991.

However, “cliquin’ up” could also be about Cole and Drake’s joint song “First Person Shooter,” and referring to how their guns are clicking because they’re out of ammo. Additionally, the “40 water” line could be interpreted as a dig at Drake’s longtime producer Noah “40” Shebib, who is known for using what he calls an “underwater” effect on his beats.

While it’s this layered eye for detail that makes Kendrick’s “Like That” verse so effective, he abandons the double entendres shortly after to make sure his point is made loud and clear in the following bars.

“F**k the sneak dissin’, first-person shooter, I hope they came with three switches,” is the bar that caught rap fans’ attention. This part of the song is when everyone realized Kendrick was taking aim at Cole and Drizzy. While the lyrics before this were littered with metaphors and clever wordplay, Kendrick decides to seize the moment in a direct callout of “First Person Shooter.” He wants everyone to know who he’s talking about, not just the rap scholars ready to dissect his every word.

Kendrick continues on this trend by rapping plainly, “Muthaf**k the big three, n***a, it’s just big me/N***a, bum, what? I’m really like that.”

Read More: Metro Boomin Insists New Album Would Have Gone No. 1 Regardless

Kendrick Doesn’t Use Violent Threats to Get His Point Across

Kendrick’s verse is also powerful because he doesn’t rely on violent threats to get his message across. With violence perforating diss tracks within the drill scene, and in rap beefs of the past, it packed more of a punch to hear Kendrick rely on his lyrical talents as an MC to target his foes.

“And your best work is a light pack/N***a, Prince outlived Mike Jack’,” Kendrick raps at one point, referring to Drake’s current tie with The King of Pop for most No. 1s ever for a solo artist. Drake takes great pride in his ongoing contest with “Mike Jack.” In the video for “First Person Shooter,” Drizzy wears a sequined glove in reference to Jackson. Kendrick merely saying that Prince outlived Michael Jackson implies that these titles aren’t everything when it comes to life and death.

Drake Seems to Have Heard Kendrick’s Verse

While rap enthusiasts could dissect Kendrick’s “Like That” clever verse for hours, it seems to have shaken Drake to his core. In the wake of hearing the diss, Drizzy has seemed to subliminally fire back at Kendrick via cryptic Instagram captions. While fans wait with bated breath to see if The Boy will hop in the studio for an official response, it takes a lot to catch Drake’s attention these days, so it’s safe to say the message was received.

However, the best part about “Like That” is the conversation it’s provoked among rap fans. What will a Kendrck, Cole and Drizzy face-off even look like? Is Future involved, too? Is Future and Metro Boomin’s We Don’t Trust You an entire album dedicated to dissing Drake? Who will emerge victorious when all is said and done? All of these questions have consumed rap fans’ psyches and resulted in some very intense back-and-forth discussions. While only time will tell what happens next, no one in 2024 has gotten the rap world talking quite like Kendrick Lamar.

Read More: Drake Against the World – Everyone the Rapper Allegedly Has Beef With

Revisit Metro Boomin and Future’s “Like That” featuring Kendrick Lamar below.

Listen to Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That” featuring Kendrick Lamar

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