‘There’s been one winner – this restaurant’: Toronto eatery is victor in Kendrick-Drake beef

Last Updated: June 17, 2024By

The Rice Rivalry: A Tale of Two Rappers and a Toronto Eatery

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When Averie Taylor Francois, a cool 14-year-old, showed up for dinner with his mom at New Ho King, he didn’t even need to glance at the menu. Nope, neither did the bunch of folks waiting patiently for a table at this hopping Toronto joint. See, there’s this dish, not listed on the menu, that everyone’s buzzing about – and posting pics of, of course.

“I went for the Kendrick special,” Averie boasted, grinning. “And the staff knew right away what I was after.”

You see, lately, rappers Kendrick Lamar and Drake have been at each other’s throats, dropping diss tracks left and right. It’s like a rap battle on steroids, grabbing the attention of hip-hop heads everywhere and leaving the rest of us scratching our heads.

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Kendrick decided to take the fight straight to Drake’s turf – Toronto – when he released “Euphoria” on April 30th. Tucked into his rhymes, alongside some not-so-friendly jabs at Drake, was a shoutout to a low-key Chinese spot downtown.

“I be at New Ho King eatin’ fried rice with a dip sauce and a blammy, crodie,” Kendrick spits, throwing in some Toronto slang for good measure.

And just like that, New Ho King found itself thrust into the limelight. Business spiked, and the staff found themselves hustling to keep up with the sudden surge in fried rice orders.

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Things really heated up when Drake fired back with “Family Matters,” shooting part of the video right there in New Ho King. Picture this: Drake and his crew, chilling in a dimly lit restaurant, surrounded by heaps of food – including, you guessed it, the famous fried rice.

Now, New Ho King, a Chinatown staple for almost five decades, is still trying to wrap its head around its newfound fame. Weeknights used to be quiet, but now there’s a line out the door, stretching down the block. Passersby stop to snap pics in front of the neon sign, adding to the buzz.

“We’ve been slinging fried rice like nobody’s business,” one server said, struggling to keep up with the demand. “Everybody wants a taste of it.”

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Averie, the Lamar superfan, couldn’t resist the call of his idol’s shoutout. “Kendrick’s different, man. He doesn’t just rap about his own stuff. He talks about real life, real people. And seeing him shout out a Toronto spot? That’s huge. Plus, poking fun at the accent? Classic.”

But not everyone’s convinced Kendrick’s motives were pure. “Sure, he knows the city. Big deal,” scoffed Jenny Min, a local. “Drake’s the real hometown hero here.”

Jenny admitted she only came to New Ho King because of Kendrick’s name-drop. And as for the fried rice? “Eh, it’s okay,” she shrugged. “Needs more flavor, though.”

Despite Drake’s deep ties to the city, there’s a feeling in New Ho King that Kendrick’s come out on top – at least, lyrically.

“If you break down the tracks, Kendrick’s got the upper hand,” Jenny mused.

Kendrick’s already hailed as one of the greatest lyricists in the game. He even snagged a Pulitzer for his album “Damn” in 2018. Drake’s good, but he’s playing in Kendrick’s league now.

But with Drake’s security guard getting shot and folks trying to break into his mansion, there’s a growing worry that this rap beef might spill over into real life – with dangerous consequences.

“The beef needs to end, man,” Bruce Liu said, shaking his head. “Both their images are taking hits. Nobody’s winning here, except maybe this restaurant.”

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