The beef started with a podcast joke gone awry
The dispute between Budden and Meek started last June when Budden joked about Meek and girlfriend Nicki Minaj on an episode of his podcast, I’ll Name This Podcast Later. He commented about how Meek appeared to be blushing in photos at the BET Awards while looking at Nicki. "Meek’s music is too hard to make me look at him with this sappy f--- sh--," he said. "I hate everything about it."
Meek responded with a series of tweets, accusing Budden of being desperate for attention, referencing a photo that basketball player J.R. Smith posted with Budden’s ex Tahiry, and saying that the crowd was unresponsive when Meek brought Budden onstage during his sold-out show in New York City. "Rap money slowing up...guess it’s love & hip hop," Meek tweeted at the time. He added, "Joking but ain’t that boy level to b commenting on the way they handle they lady! Yall gotta have a chill button when you speaking on da trill."
Budden then replied, “@MeekMill #1. I think you’ve taken some things outta context. I didn’t diss u. #2. U don’t rap well enough to go this route w me.” He apologized to Meek on the following episode of his podcast, but the beef triangle had begun. (Note: Drake was embroiled in a separate beef with Meek several weeks later after dropping the diss record "Charged Up," the response to Meek's accusations that Drizzy employed ghostwriters for his songs. Prior to the squabble, they had collaborated on "R.I.C.O." off Meek's 2015 second studio effort Dreams Worth More Than Money.)
Controversial views of Drake’s new album
While Drake’s fourth studio effort Views continues to dominate the charts (the set just logged its ninth week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart), it has received mixed reviews from critics and fans. Budden weighed in on his podcast, asserting that despite him being a big fan of Drake’s music, he thought the "6 God" sounded “uninspired.” He added that while Drake’s production team continued to grow, he remained stagnant lyrically. “I said the other day on this podcast. I miss the Drake that starts the waves, not hops on other waves," Budden said. "And I’ll say it again: I miss the Drake that pushes the f---in’ agenda, not lets the agenda push him."
In recent months, Drake has made two moves that Budden believes were directed at him. First, French Montana released a snippet of a Drake collab on Instagram where Drake is heard saying, "Pump, pump it up."
For Budden, it was clear that Drake was taking a shot at him -- Budden’s most popular hit to date is "Pump It Up," the single from his 2003 self-titled Def Jam debut.
Earlier this month, Drake also dropped "4PM In Calabasas," which Budden says was littered with subliminal shots at him. (He even dedicated a segment of his podcast on Episode 68 to him pointing out and breaking down the lines he thought were about him. For example, Drake raps, "They whole demeanor just spells envy." Budden said the acronym for "Jealous Ones Envy" spells out "Joe."). Meanwhile, Drake stayed silent but didn't mention Meek’s name on wax either.
Budden then teased that a possible diss track would be released. At his final show in New York City (June 16), the New Jersey rapper told the audience, "Authenticity is important to me. In the days ahead, you'll be hearing from someone who is not authentic." He also included an old video clip of Drake calling Budden "one of the best" in a video montage at the concert.
Meek Mill vs. Drake: A Full Timeline of the Rap Beef & Who Weighed In
"Making of a Murderer, Part 1"
Right before July 4th weekend, Budden dropped his first evident diss song "Making of a Murderer, Part 1." The four-verse, six-minute barrage of bars suggest that Drake has been influenced by his style, refers to Drake’s record deal involving multiple bosses and brings up that weird 2010 Sprite commercial. He also briefly mentions Meek but seemingly only to point out that dissing Drake doesn't mean that he and Meek are allies. "No alliances with Meek, it's still f--- him too," he says.
Budden said on his podcast that he camped out at the studio for several days working on Drake disses as soon as he heard the snippet on French Montana’s Instagram. He also said that the song wasn't intended to re-ignite the rift with Meek but to be a competitive MC.
More Meek vs. Joe online banter
Meek posted the following message on his Instagram page that was perceived as a message to Budden: “He's been dead since 2003, it's evident,” Meek wrote. "We don't talk to dead people unless they presidents."
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Budden mocked Meek Mill for his own Drake disses and told him to step aside. "@meekmill You keep talking everything but rap (I think we all understand why lol)..Do yourself a favor, sit back & watch a real MC do what you couldn’t," he wrote.
While Drake has yet to issue a formal response, Budden released a more damning song on Wednesday (July 6) titled "Wake." On the song, Budden accuses Drake of using other people's resources without returning the favor. He mentions Partynextdoor songs ending up on Drake albums while the OVO crooner's own debut remains to be seen and notes how the Toronto MC emulates Migos’ flows on "Versace." He adds that producer Mike Zombie has not done any Drake songs since "Started From the Bottom" and asserts that Drake uses a fake accent. "That owl’s appropriate, we don't know who you are," he raps on the song, which boasts the OVO mascot, an owl, for its cover art.
UPDATE: "No Shopping" and "Afraid"
After previously teasing the collaboration on Instagram, French Montana let his new track "No Shopping" loose featuring Drake. The Toronto rapper begins his verse by appearing to reference Joe Budden's 2003 hit "Pump It Up." He raps, "Pump, pump, pump it up/ She got a good head on her, but I pump it up/ I'm not a one hit wonder, they know all my stuff/ You let me turn into the nigga that you almost was." Drizzy continues, "I done seen a lot of shit and I done been in things/ And I never started nothin', I just finish things."
It wasn't long before Budden came through with new heat titled "Afraid," which samples Drake's 2010 song "The Resistance." Here, Budden does not hold back. "Wish we could go back and grab the blackberry with the scroll, oh/ Yeah Aubrey that’s the one we trusted/ Not this new Aubrey with his stomach sculpted," he rhymes.
UPDATE: Drake allegedly slides into Joe Budden's DMs
During a recent interview last month on the ESPN podcast Be Honest with Cari Champion, Joe Budden said that Drake allegedly sent him a direct message via Instagram, saying, “He said, ‘I would like to formally invite you to one of my 4 Madison Square Garden shows... and I bet you can’t release 25 diss records between now and then. So then it was the laughing emoji. I use that emoji with my friends so I don’t know if he’s laughing or joking at this point. And then he followed that with, ‘If you can, I will give you $10,000, LOL,’ and then ‘JOEY’ and a bunch of exclamation points. I didn’t know how to take that." Drake reportedly continued, "Maybe I need to mind my own f--king business, but the man that I knew or thought that I knew is very different than just what I’m seeing."
Joe Budden releases Drake beef-inspired merch
Budden became a full-fledged meme when he tried to chase some Drake fans who ran up on him at his home, according to clips on social media. The image of Budden making like Usain Bolt became the muse for a line of merchandise carrying caps and shirts, retailing for $30 each, featuring an emoji version of Joe on the run. The merch is available on his official site.