Kendrick Lamar, who is still seen as a “Freshman” in the game by many, has expressed his talents, passion and dedication for rap with his latest album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, and has been widely accepted by veterans including Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Jay-Z. Between his lyrical skills and stage presence, Lamar has proven to hold the title as one of the greatest new-comers this year with one of the best albums of 2013.
What’s Hip-Hop without the talented artists? And what is a talented artist without a trick up his sleeve? I’ll answer that for you, nothing. Kendrick Lamar has shown the world that he has a few tricks up his sleeves, one being the verse he laid down on the “Control” track. Not only did Lamar take a jab at fellow new comers including J. Cole, Mac Miller and Big KRIT–“Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you ni**as”–but he also crowned himself as the “King of New York” and the “King of the Coast” claiming that he’s juggling both.
This caused a giant controversy on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media platforms that entertain New York hip hop fans and rappers. Many people were furious with Kendrick’s statement being that he is not from NY, and there are actual NY rappers–Jay-Z, Nas–who might deserve the title more. Rappers including Papoose, Cassidy and Iman Shumpert have already released tracks responding to Lamar’s verse, while other rappers took to twitter to express their (mainly positive) thoughts.
Did Kendrick Lamar really do anything special by claiming to be the “King of New York”? Did Kendrick Lamar do anything special by taking a few jabs at rappers? Did he do anything that hasn’t been done before?
First off, this isn’t a “monumental moment” in rap history. I highly doubt in a few years we will remember this as a major moment in hip-hop; we will remember this for sure, but it isn’t going to be like Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift or Jay-Z and Nas’ epic battle. He has not been the first person to self proclaim and he is not the first non-New Yorker to want to be the king. He has not been the first person to start “beef” and he will not be the last. Kendrick has not even reached his pinnacle yet, and honestly his verse on “Control” wasn’t his greatest.
I think the reason this verse is important for hip-hop is because he is stirring up emotions. He is playing with the strong and weak links, ultimately exposing which rapper will survive. While taking jabs at new rappers and veterans, he is calling out those he thinks has more to offer. He is simply getting rappers to do one thing: make quality music. Without a little bit of battle/”beef” in hip-hop there would be no point. The point of hip-hop, to me, is for rappers to express themselves and battle amongst each other to continuously improve and thrive off of each other. If we continue to pat the backs of rappers like 2 Chainz and Gucci Mane, who rap about nonsensical topics and spew random punchlines to sound relevant, the generations to come will lose (if they ever even knew) the true meaning of hip-hop.
Lastly, the rappers who took offense to this shouldn’t have. I don’t think Kendrick is trying to say he is better than everyone or can do what others cannot (even though I think he damn sure has the ability to), but maybe he is just saying that he wants to see more! Who wouldn’t want to rap in a world where there is competition? What’s the point of a competition if nobody is giving you a challenge? I think the people who were offended were probably offended because they know they cannot compete.
Like one J.Cole fan said:
“Kendrick Lamar’s the truth. But y’all gotta read between the lines. He didn’t diss anybody he mentioned, he dissed everyone he didn’t.”