How Kevin from ‘The Office’ Found Himself in the Middle of the Kendrick Lamar-Drake Beef

Brian Baumgartner prefers grilling beef to starting one
How Kevin from ‘The Office’ Found Himself in the Middle of the Kendrick Lamar-Drake Beef

If there’s one person who can bring peace to the world of hip-hop amidst so much conflict, it’s Kevin Malone.

Brian Baumgartner is more than just his most famous character. Beyond his work on the smash hit NBC sitcom The Office (U.S.), Baumgartner is also an Atlanta native, an accomplished theater director and a bona fide grill master who has published multiple cookbooks since Kevin’s famous chili famously and tragically spilled across the floor of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office. And, ever since this past November, Baumgartner has been a central figure in the biggest rap beef since the deaths of Biggie and Tupac led to the end of the East Coast-West Coast rivalry back in the late 1990s. 

When Baumgartner agreed to appear in the music video for the single “First Person Shooter” by Drake, featuring J. Cole, he had no way of knowing that he had unintentionally picked a side in a pop-culture war between Drake and Kendrick Lamar that still rages to this day. But in a recent interview with Salon, Baumgartner apologized for his contributions to the conflict and offered to arrange a peace summit — call him Louis FarraKevin.

“Okay, alright,” Baumgartner began when his interviewer brought up his central role in the beef between Drake and Lamar that has spawned numerous hit singles and all kinds of slander, allegations and character attacks on both sides. Following the release of “First Person Shooter” late last year, a line in which J. Cole called himself, Drake and Kendrick the “Big Three” rubbed Kendrick the wrong way, and the Compton-based rapper began putting out diss-tracks about both Drake and J. Cole, eventually narrowing his sights on the former.

Baumgartner, who played an inept boss in a familiar-looking office setting in the music video for the inciting single, didn’t expressly admit alignment with Drake’s camp in his conversation with Salon, and he characterized himself as an advocate for peace. Or as he put it, “I need Kendrick to give me a call. We’ll do a sit-down, I’ll take care of everything.” 

Baumgartner then claimed, “I did not know, obviously, at that time, what (“First Person Shooter”) was going to start.”

“I went back and looked at that video recently, and I saw it hopped millions and millions again. I was like, ‘Why is everybody…? Oh, that’s why everybody’s going back to it and looking at it again,’” Baumgartner explained, saying that, when it comes to calming the contested waters between Drake and Kendrick, “I’ll help in any way I can.” 

The Office star said of the feud, “I’ll fix it. I apologize to everybody for that,” saying of the offense caused by his acting gig, “It was not known to me.”

Hopefully, Baumgartner will be able to bring the warring hip-hop giants together, probably over a Georgia-style barbecue. But if the opposing side decides to add the peacemaker to his hit-list, Baumgartner might be forced to grill Lamar instead.


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