Kendrick Lamar and Drake's rap beef is big business for content creators

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Cultural events in the digital age take a familiar shape. There is the central story — in this case, the truly vicious beef between rappers Kendrick Lamar and Drake — and then a whole array of tendrils stemming from that core event. The main thing feeds, for better or worse, a content ecosystem.

The Kendrick vs. Drake fracas has birthed a cottage industry of reactions online. Sure, the beef is ruthless. Families are involved, alleged secrets are out, potential false flag operations are at play, and serious criminal allegations have been levied. There have also been countless avenues for creators to get involved, if not necessarily directly engaging with the nastier bits of the beef. There are lyrics to parse through and disses that inspire significant reactions to the various new tracks dropping.

In short, even something like the Drake vs. Kendrick beef — honestly, especially something like the beef — is an opportunity for creators to grow their reach. It’s a natural fit for some because they’re already talking about it.

“I try to keep up with anything that goes down in music,” Jordan Bowles, a 21-year-old creator in Indiana, told Mashable. “The first time I talked specifically about Kendrick and Drake, the beef, I called it over after ‘Euphoria’ came out.”

The video immediately found its audience, shooting up to nearly 20,000 views.

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But the battle was far from over, as we all know. Bowles is the kind of TikTok creator you’d expect to jump into the beef. Scroll through his profile, and you’ll find many posts about hip-hop, pop culture, and other little life observations you’d typically see on the platform.

Not to fully relitigate the battles between Kendrick and Drake, but there have been many back-and-forth allegations — some serious and, importantly, unproven. Drake levied an allegation of domestic abuse, and Lamar came back with, well, a lot, including accusations of pedophilia. Many outlets have done an excellent job breaking down the beef timeline. The consensus seems that Lamar “won” the battle via the back-to-back offerings of “Meet the Grahams” and “Not Like Us,” which shot to the top of streaming charts.

The fight still rages online, even though Kendrick and Drake have reached a standstill. Bowles posted regularly as the tracks dropped, typically writing his thoughts in captions over a video of him listening to the song. Like many others, he felt Kendrick was winning the battle. He did a simple video about “Meet the Grahams,” noting that Drake should’ve never brought up the family because he couldn’t keep up with Kendrick’s response. It’s racked up 4 million views, by far Bowles’ most-watched TikTok ever. It’s quite the number for a creator who just now climbed above 18,000 followers.

It was a big moment for Bowles, who is trying to carve out a lane as a creator.

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“My phone’s going off, view after view after view. I’m checking every 10 seconds because I’m excited,” he said.

Some of his other videos on the feud have racked up anywhere from 60,000 to 900,000 views, which are all big numbers for a micro-content creator. His account also saw a roughly 12 percent jump in followers after he started talking about the beef.

However, someone like Bowles is relatively tiny compared to other creators. A handful of already-popular personalities have focused on the Drake vs. Kendrick saga. Already a popular and controversial influencer, Kai Cenat has racked up millions of views and, one assumes, a good amount of cash covering the beef. There are also creators like rapper Scru Face Jean, who was already somewhat popular but, like Bowles, has seen his numbers grow from focusing on the beef. The most viewed TikToks on his page, some floating around a million views, are all about Kendrick vs. Drake, while his music and other hip-hop reactions show way less engagement.

That’s the thing, though. The creators who are seemingly capitalizing on the beef had to have earned it. They were already focused on the hip-hop space when this huge moment came around.

“I value my take and feelings in the whole thing,” Bowles said. If people knew you were into hip-hop, your thoughts might break through. For instance, Bowles said he tried to have exciting and opinionated reactions.

“Every diss that has come out, I’ve listened to it three, four, five times before I wrote down some thoughts,” he said. “And after I pulled myself together, I texted a few people to get different sides of how they feel about it. I would then piece together my thoughts.”

Then he’d post a summary of those thoughts via text over a video of him reacting.

“It was a good recipe,” Bowles said.

These moments can be big business for creators — even if, again, we’re talking about a vicious verbal fight that some are concerned has inspired real-world violence. Smaller creators, like Bowles, might get hit up to hawk products in the TikTok shop (he declined such offers). For someone like Cenat, the vast payouts come with viral YouTube videos.

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While the subjects addressed within the beef are severe, the notion of rap beef itself is a relatively low-stakes but high-interest subject for a creator to cover. It has drama and endless fodder — think of all the lyrics you could break down. It’s like reality TV. Think of the reactions, theories, and amateur sleuthing that arose out of the Scandoval saga from Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules. At least in the digital world, it’s an opportunity to react, take sides, and find nuggets of info. You can go through Kendrick’s lyrics and Tom Sandoval’s Instagram page with effectively the same fine-tooth internet-comb, even if the subjects are quite different.

In short, everything with drama is grist for the internet’s mill. So long as Drake and Kendrick are beefing, people will get views off it. Currently, however, we’re just waiting for the next song. There have been hints Drake has something brewing — get your ring lights and front-facing cameras ready.





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