From Kanye To Tekashi69: Every Shot Taken In Meek Mill's "What's Free"

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Meek Mill, ex-boyfriend of Nicki Minaj and connoisseur of the “outside voice,” just dropped his highly anticipated fourth studio album, Championships. It’s the rapper’s first full-length project since his release from prison in April of this year. The album includes features from artists that are sure to raise eyebrows for anyone who is following celebrity gossip. For example, Nicki’s nemesis Cardi B appears on “On Me” with lines like “Believe me, I've heard of the mumble (Look) / I'm just gon' leave it alone (Yeah) / 'Cause I would put burners to bundles.” And on “Going Bad,” Meek collaborates with his own former foe, Drake.
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But if Championships is a pot of warm tea, “What’s Free” is by far the hottest cup to come from the back. The track includes Jay-Z and Rick Ross and has already set the internet on fire interpreting the lyrics and getting Kanye West trending on Twitter. Here's a careful breakdown so that you don’t miss a single shot thrown.
Who is on “What’s Free”?
Meek tapped Rick Ross and Beyoncé’s husband to join him on this track. Jay-Z publicly called for Meek’s release from prison earlier this year. Ross’ last album included this line, “I told Meek I wouldn’t trust Nicki.” Meek is well-connected and wants us to know it.
Wait, so why is Kanye West trending?
Most of Jay’s verse is about exactly what you’d expect it to be: his extreme wealth, all of the business deals he’s involved in, and another reminder that Black Americans have been systemically set up for failure. However, he also took a couple of lines to address Kanye directly. “No red hat, don't Michael and Prince me and Ye / They separate you when you got Michael and Prince's DNA, uh.”
What does that mean?
Obviously, Yeezy has been proudly rocking his red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and sitting down with Donald Trump in the White House under some guise of faux unity and hope that Trump will actually deliver on the promise printed on those hats. Meanwhile, Jay is using “What’s Free” to double down on his anti-Trumpism, mainly because — as the rest of the verse indicates — he knows America was never great.
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But the tension between Kanye and Jay-Z extends way beyond politics. The best way to describe their relationship would be that of estranged brothers. They were once extremely close, as friends and colleagues, but drifted apart in the midst of Kanye marrying Kim Kardashian. Things have gotten worse over the past few years. Kanye has publicly thrown shots at both Jay-Z and Beyoncé for what he perceives as turning their backs on him. But if “What’s Free” is any indication, Jay is taking a page out of Michelle Obama’s book and taking the high road.
“Don't Michael and Prince me and Ye / They separate you when you got Michael and Prince's DNA” is a reference to the long-rumored feud between the late legends Michael Jackson and Prince. Jay has no interest in being pitted against someone with whom he shares racial DNA, no matter their differences. He even logged onto Twitter for the first time in over a year to clarify that point.
What about Rick Ross’ verse?
In terms of actual flow, I hold the unpopular opinion that Ross actually has the better verse on “What’s Free.” But the Miami-based rapper constantly blocks his own blessings with his unapologetic homophobia and misogyny. One of his lines is “Mona Lisa to me ain’t nothin but a b***h.” Some people think THIS is another shot at Nicki, who is not only known for her beauty, but also had a song called "Mona Lisa" on her 2014 album, The Pinkprint.
But it’s this part of Ross' verse that has people talking:
“Screaming "gang gang," now you wanna rat
Racketeering charges caught him on a tap
Lookin' for a bond, lawyers wanna tax
Purple hair got them [redacted] on your back”
Many on Twitter have figured that Ross is addressing controversial rapper Tekashi69 who was recently indicted earlier this month on multiple federal charges, including racketeering. He has been in jail ever since. Ross then uses a homophobic slur to suggest that Tekashi’s flamboyant hair is attracting the sexual attention of other men.
Wow. This is a lot. Is there anything else I should know about this song?
On a lighter note, Meek made it clear that his beef with Drake is definitely still squashed.
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