New Ho King, a Chinese restaurant, wins Kendrick Lamar-Drake beef

New Ho King, a Chinese restaurant, wins Kendrick Lamar-Drake beef

The past six weeks have seen the long-running feud between Compton, Calif.-born rapper Kendrick Lamar and Canadian rapper Drake turn into a full-blown beef, with confrontations delivered in the form of diss tracks.

But the feud did not escalate until April 30, when Mr. Lamar released “Euphoria”, a six and a half minute presentation from the “Nice for What” rapper. On Friday, Drake responded to “Euphoria” and another track, “6:16 in LA,” with “Family matters”, which has more than 15 million views on YouTube.

Caught in the middle of this culture-devouring rivalry, New Ho Roi, an unpretentious restaurant in Toronto’s Chinatown. The restaurant, which has been serving dishes like hot grouper and tofu, as well as sweet and sour pork with pineapple to Torontonians for nearly 50 years, was briefly mentioned in “Euphoria.” (“I’m in New Ho King eating fried rice with dip and a blammy, crodie,” Mr. Lamar raps, finishing the lyrics with a touch of local Toronto slang.)

The mention of Mr. Lamar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper, prompted a flood of five-star reviews on Yelp and Google for New Ho King, many of them written by people who had never set foot in the restaurant .

“I’ve never eaten here but I get five stars because Kendrick is the GOAT! From California with love,” one Yelp reviewer wrote. (Yelp has since attached an “unusual activity alert” to New Ho King’s page.)

This is not the only restaurant in the group. In his “6:16 a.m. in Los Angeles“, Mr. Lamar mentions the pizzeria Lucaliin Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn: “My visa, my passport in tatters, I show up in Ibiza, at Lucalis in Brooklyn just to book myself a pizza. »

There are several fan theories as to why Mr. Lamar chose to reference the Chinese restaurant in such a scathing track of contention, including that it could be linked to a 2009 incident in which Drake was robbed at gunpoint. a weapon in a Toronto restaurant, although this link is not confirmed.

Regardless of the subtext or quick rap fan analysis, Johnny Lu, the restaurant’s owner, was happy to be mentioned. “We usually get 20 to 30 orders of fried rice a day,” Mr. Lu said. told the Toronto Star two days after the release of Mr. Lamar’s “Euphoria.” “Today we won three times as much.”

On Friday, Drake put the restaurant back at the center of the rivalry with the music video for “Family Matters”, his response to “Euphoria”. The final minutes of the video show Drake and members of his entourage dining in an empty New Ho King. The video then flashes between images intended to attack Mr. Lamar, including a photo of a ring that belonged to Tupac Shakur, one of Mr. Lamar’s idolsthat Drake bought in 2023 for 1 million dollars at auction.

The music video was likely shot and produced in the three days between the release of “Euphoria” and “Family Matters,” highlighting how quickly rappers work to release dissident tracks. Whether Drake or Mr. Lamar will prevail is still up for debate, but so far the clear winners in this transcontinental rap feud are Mr. Lu and New Ho King.

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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