Drake disses Rihanna, Esperanza Spalding on new album

Drake’s new album, “For All the Dogs,” features disses at numerous people. Two of them are Rihanna and Esperanza Spalding.

On “Fear of Heights,” the fourth track on “For All the Dogs,” released on Friday, Drake allegedly aims some subliminal bars at Rihanna. The song begins with “Why they make it sound like I’m still hung up on you?/That could never be.” From there, he leaves little doubt who he intended the rhymes for:

“Gyal can’t run me,
Better him than me,
Better it’s not me,
I’m anti, I’m anti [pronounced an-TEE],
Yeah, and the sex was average with you,
Yeah, I’m anti ’cause I had it with you.”

2016 MTV Video Music Awards - Show & Audience
Drake presents the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award to Rihanna onstage during the “2016 MTV Music Video Awards” on Aug. 28, 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Drake’s use of “gyal” instead of “girl” references’ Rihanna’s Barbadian accent. “Anti” is the title of Rihanna’s most recent album, which features the song “Sex With Me.” He continues, saying, “I had way badder b-tches than you, TBH,” and talks about how Rihanna and her new man go on vacation in Antigua, a Caribbean island just over 300 miles from her native Barbados.

Rihanna and Drake frequently collaborated on songs over the years, including the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles “What’s My Name?” and “Work.” The two reportedly dated on and off starting in the early 2010s, according to People, but Rihanna never admitted to them being an item.

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Rihanna isn’t the only female musician to take a swipe at. On “Away From Home,” the penultimate track on “For All the Dogs,” Drake talked about his past struggles and dealing with obstacles to his success. He expressed his ire at Spalding and the Recording Academy for putting her on a critical pedestal rather than him:

“Four Grammys to my name, a hundred nominations,
Esperanza Spalding was gettin’ all the praises,
I’m trying to keep it humble, I’m trying to keep it gracious,
Who gives a f–k Michelle Obama put you on her playlist?
Then we never hear from you again like you was taken.”

62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Press Room
Esperanza Spalding, winner of Best Jazz Vocal Album for “12 Little Spells” poses in the press room during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, on Jan. 26, 2020, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Spalding, a prodigious bassist, vocalist, and composer in the jazz world, won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011 over Drake, Justin Bieber, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford & Sons.

While Drake attests that Spalding disappeared from the spotlight, since 2011, she increased her Grammy Award wins to five — the same amount as Drake — and released five of her eight albums. She’s collaborated with musicians like Robert Glasper and Q-Tip, and from 2017 to 2022, worked at Harvard University as a professor in the Ivy League school’s music department.

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