Tory didn’t seem too phased by the New York rapper’s diss track.
When it comes to proving artistic superiority in hip-hop, few barometers are more apt than soliciting, and executing, rap battles. “Ether” and “Takeover”; “Hit ‘Em Up” and “Who Shot Ya?”: hip-hop beefs have spawned an equal amount of entertainment from the tracks themselves to the slanderous transpiring discourse. And while the animosity burns fervently, there’s always, usually, an underlying layer of mutual respect–even if it’s well-hidden in the defamatory lyrics.
While the legendary beefs between Jay Z and Nas, between Tupac and Biggie, are in the rearview mirror, their historic value has been finely weaved into hip-hop’s fabric, setting the precedent for lyrical adversaries. The lessons from some of the Mt. Rushmore faces of hip-hop have not fallen on deaf ears, and persist vividly today. The most recent perpetuating parties honoring these lessons are Tory Lanez and New York’s Don Q.
Tory hasn’t minced words when it comes to his lyrical merit. He’s solicited challenges to some of today’s greats–like Pusha T and J. Cole; he’s answered calls from respected lyricists–like the Eminem-endorsed Joyner Lucas, who Lanez arguably bested in a November lyrical sparring match; he’s outright claimed that he is the current best rapper alive. And Tory’s taken the vow of silence from these greats as implicit victory. But one of the ancillary benefits of beefs is leveraging them for increased exposure, for proving that one’s weight class can be arbitrary in a title fight.
Tory Lanez is objectively a more popular artist than Don Q: the former has over 11.6mm monthly Spotify listeners to the latter’s 621k. But just because Tory has charted more successfully and better fits the “superstar” mold, that doesn’t mean that he’s untouchable to artists statistically beneath him. If anything, it makes the target on his back that much brighter for hungry rappers clamoring for advancement–for those keen on proving themselves. Over the weekend, Don Q took that distinct opportunity to answer Tory’s incessant rap battle invitations.
“I’m Not Joyner” is Don Q’s scathing case for why he’s more deserving of hip-hop’s lyrical crown than Tory. Throughout the “Victory” sample–the original by fellow New York artists Diddy, Busta, and Biggie–Don asserts himself by claiming that Tory stole his swag on the latter’s Funk Flex freestyle, saying that the Love Me Now rapper praised Q and watched his freestyle “hundreds of times”. Don goes on to say that this wasn’t an a la carte case of theft; he identifies how Tory’s entire aesthetic is a diluted version of Drake’s.
While Tory hasn’t released his musical rebuttal, he took to his Instagram story to mock Don Q by saying, “That’s what you came with?” Knowing Tory and his pursuit of GOAT rapper title, it’s only a matter of time before he issues his proper response.
Listen to Don Q’s “I’m Not Joyner” diss track below: