(May 14, 2024).  In a world where subliminal disses rule the day, it’s a rare occasion when a hip-hop beef gets so hot that a rapper specifically calls out his target by name in a diss song.

By doing so on his latest No. 1 hit, Kendrick Lamar unwittingly adds Drake (and Future) to a unique list in chart history, one where only four other artists — to this blogger’s knowledge — dwell.

“Not Like Us” by Kendrick Lamar is the new No. 1 song on this week’s Billboard Hot 100.

As everyone knows, Kendrick Lamar and Drake are seriously beefing right now.

The decade-old beef, which lay dormant for a while but was re-flamed in March when Lamar appeared to diss Drake and fellow rapper J. Cole on the No. 1 single “Like That” by Future & Metro Boomin, really started cooking when Drake and Lamar began trading barbs with four new tracks each (most of which were made available for streaming on DSPs).

Lamar issued “Euphoria,” “Meet the Grahams,” “6:16 in L.A.” and “Not Like Us” (all targeting mostly Drake), while the 6-God released “Push Ups,” “Taylor Made Freestyle,” “Family Matters,” and “The Heart Part 6.”  All eight songs were released in the span of 17 days between April 19 and May 5.

The beef appears to be over for now with most people (at least those who care) interpreting Drizzy’s last entry, “The Heart Part 6,” as his concession to K-Dot.  But the conflict between hip-hop’s most commercially successful rapper of the past 15 years and its most critically acclaimed artist in that same span has yielded historic chart numbers and a piece of unique pop chart trivia that this blogger simply could not ignore.

Kendrick’s “Not Like Us” debuts at No. 1 on this week’s Hot 100, while his “Euphoria” climbs to No. 3 (from its No. 11 debut last week) and “Like That” moves back up to No. 6 (from No. 8 after topping the chart in April).

Meanwhile, Drake’s “Family Matters” makes its entry at No. 7, offering perhaps the most objective measure yet that Kendrick won the battle with his slate of higher-charting hits.

Drake’s “Family Matters,” which is a diss aimed at Kendrick Lamar, joins three diss songs by Lamar in the top ten this week.

But aside from there being four diss songs in the top ten simultaneously — which is certainly a first — it’s Drake’s top-10 entry, plus a lyric in K.Dot’s “Not Like Us,” that puts the two rival rappers on a unique list that includes only a handful of artists who’ve ever done this in Billboard Hot 100 history.

By name-dropping Drake with the line “Say, Drake, I hear you like em young” (I know, not a flattering mention) on “Not Like Us,” Drake joins a very short list of artists who’ve been mentioned by name in a top-10 song while being in the top 10 with their own single. 

Simultaneously, K-Dot mentions fellow rapper Future on “Not Like Us” with the line “You called Future when you didn’t see the club” (implying that Drake needed Future to generate a club banger with their earlier collaborations).

With Future still being in the top ten with “Like That,” it concurrently adds him to this rare list of top-10 artists with simultaneous mentions (by name) in other top-10 hits.

There are at least four other times in history where this unique feat has occurred, and only one of them involves another pair of nemeses.

That was back in April when Taylor Swift was still in the top ten with “Cruel Summer,” while rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West) name-dropped her in his No. 1 hit “Carnival,” where he uttered the line “I mean since Taylor Swift, since I had the Rollie on the wrist,” a nod to his own level of fame and fortune and the simmering feud between him and the pop icon. 

But before that, at least by this blogger’s research, one would have to go back to the 20th century to find the three earlier instances of this rare occurrence. 

In October 1987, Smokey Robinson was in the top ten with his comeback hit “One Heartbeat” while the British pop group ABC was in the region with their tribute to the Motown legend, “When Smokey Sings.”  The two songs joined each other for one week in the chart’s upper echelon before both exited on the chart dated October 10.

In November 1974, the song “Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)” by a one-hit studio concoction named Reunion climbed into the top ten during the same week that one of its many name-checked artists — John Denver — did.  Denver, who moved up to No. 5 with “Back Home Again,” was mentioned in the song “Rock” with the line “Denver, John and Osmond, Donny.”

Amazingly, of the more than two-dozen other artists mentioned in “Rock,” many of them contemporaries like Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, and others who’d had recent top-10 hits, only Denver managed to rank in the Hot 100’s upper decile during the same two weeks as “Rock” (which ultimately peaked at No. 8).

And finally, the ultimate pop behemoths The Beatles managed this feat in June and July 1970 when their last No. 1 single, “The Long and Winding Road,” was in the top ten at the same time that a song name-checking the fabulous foursome was.

The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion” rambled off a list of culturally significant events that included the line: “the Beatles’ new record’s a gas,” a compliment that many speculated was referring to the group’s prior single, “Let It Be,” which was popular at the time the Temps recorded “Confusion.”

But it was “The Long and Winding Road” that rode the top ten concurrently with “Ball of Confusion” for four straight weeks in 1970, making it the longest such run of top-10 songs by artists who were name-checked in other simultaneous top-10 songs.

YearTop-10 song name-checking artistArtist’s own concurrent top-10 hit
1970“Ball of Confusion” – Temptations (“Beatles new record’s a a gas…”)“The Long and Winding Road” – Beatles
1974“Life Is A Rock” – Reunion (“Denver, John and Osmond, Donny”)“Back Home Again” – John Denver
1987“When Smokey Sings” – ABC (many times during the chorus)“One Heartbeat” – Smokey Robinson
2024“Carnival” – Ye & Ty Dolla $ign (“I mean since Taylor Swift…”“Cruel Summer” – Taylor Swift 
2024“Not Like Us” – Kendrick Lamar (“Say, Drake, I hear you like em young”)“Family Matters” – Drake
2024“Not Like Us” – Kendrick Lamar (“You called Future when you didn’t see the club”)“Like That” – Future & Metro Boomin’ ft. Lamar
Chart source: Billboard Hot 100 1970-2024

Those are the six examples I could find where artists were specifically mentioned by name in top-10 hits while they were charting in the top ten with their own songs.  

But my research was limited to the few prominent examples of this that I was aware of or could reasonably research.  If readers know of any others, please feel free to comment below and provide them.  I’ll update the article accordingly.


DJRob (he/him) is a freelance music blogger from the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, disco, pop, rock and country genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @djrobblog and on Meta’s Threads.

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