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  • Writer's pictureladyviii

Did Kendrick Lamar mistakenly reference Joel Osteen on 'euphoria' Drake diss?

Kendrick Lamar took the internet by storm when he released his Drake diss track, "euphoria."

It's a six-minute extravaganza with beat switches and bar upon bar slamming Aubrey Graham as a Black man, father and artist.

Among the complex bars, the Compton MC addresses Drake's use of ghostwriters on past songs and how he created AI verses from Tupac and Snoop Dogg for his "Taylor Made" diss track directed at Kendrick. This is where the latter references televangelist/motivational speaker Joel Osteen.

"Am I battlin' ghost or AI?" Lamar asks and then names Osteen, pronouncing it like "Jo-hail Ozteen."

"Funny, he was in a film called 'A.I.'/And my sixth sense tellin' me to off him," KDot continues, referencing two movies that Haley Joel Osment was in as a child actor, "A.I." and "The Sixth Sense."

Many on social media wondered if Kendrick confused the pastor and the actor. But here's why I don't think he messed up...

Kendrick Lamar is known as a complex lyricist who creates layers in his music. Take his 2017 album, "DAMN." as just one example. Not only is each song a story, the album can actually be played forward and backward for a different narrative.

So it's best not to write something off Kendrick said that doesn't make sense on first listen as a mistake.

The Joel Osteen reference actually does make sense when you break down the surrounding lyrics.

When asking if he's battling ghosts or artificial intelligence, Lamar could really be comparing himself to the paster because Osteen has received criticism for building a megachurch and teaching what many consider the prosperity gospel. The "ghost" could refer to the Holy Ghost and mean the rapper is alluding to Osteen having to battle his conscience.

That brings me to earlier lyrics that show the Osteen reference isn't completely out of nowhere. A few bars ahead, Lamar is calling Drake a deadbeat father to his son, Adonis, and comparing their parenting styles.

"Wakin' him up, know nothin' 'bout that/Then tell him to pray, know nothin' 'bout that/Then givin' him tools to walk through life like day by day, know nothin' 'bout that... /Speakin' the truth and consider what God's considerin', you don't know nothin' 'bout that," Kendrick spits.

These bars show that Lamar is very aware of spiritual battles and is teaching his kids to pray and discern God's will. So a later reference to one of the most well-known "pastors" of the day is not surprising. The way he does wordplay on Osteen's and Osment's names only adds to the tension with the controversy surrounding Osteen, the dark nature of Osment's movies and the intensity of the criticisms he is directing toward his opponent.

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