Kendrick Lamar's "Control" Verse Was an Exciting Moment for Hip-Hop -- And Now It's Over
And now, many moons later the world is kicked onto its axis when a young kid from Compton comes through and shouts out one of the original Dogg Pound members Kurupt and claims to be the King of NYC. In today's hip hop climate east coast hip hop is thought to be on its last leg. The young breed of emcees that were supposed to restore the feeling have cranked out a few hit records, but haven't quite cashed in on the assumption that they would be the return of east coast lyricism. There is healthy crop of new breed emcees bracing themselves to be the most influential people of the culture for the next ten years.
The culture is evolving and the new schoolers are all influenced by the 90's era. Kendrick spit a verse challenging all of his current classmates, dissing east coast hip hop and comparing himself to the cultural gods Nas and Jay Z. This is one of the most ballsy maneuvers ever. He also made the world forget that Jay Electronica, one of the best lyricists alive, is also on the same track. In my head when I listen to this track I see people in California doing backflips and high-fiving each other. I see Tupac and Eazy E in Heaven high-fiving each other. I see Ice Cube sitting on the beach with his legs crossed, sipping a tall glass of lemonade.
The problem is, all the east coast responders were rappers we all predicted we would hear from. Jay-Z and Nas are sitting this one out because it's not their plight. They were involved in the Tupac war. They have their scars already applied from defending the coast even though neither one of them replied to Makaveli while he was alive. So here we are in a world where the West is positioning itself to take the crown back and the south is currently on a creative decline outside of the likes of Killer Mike. Unless Eminem drops a classic the midwest really isn't even in this conversation. So Kendrick basically said "the West Coast is back and we're going at everyone's head." And the world went into a frenzy.
Some people understood what was going on and others didn't but couldn't help but take heed. The last time I can think of a song shaking up the pillars to this degree was "Triumph" from Wu Tang Clan. I'm talking about a moment where you knew for a fact that this verse would change everything. Rap music suddenly turned into the war of the worlds as everyone in the galaxy decided it was time to cue in on the conversation and make their version of a response to Mr.Lamar. Kendrick even landed himself on the cover of USA Today. The world completely erupted and everyone scrambled to get in on the actions. The first responder that I noticed was Joel Ortiz. I knew he would come in for NYC because he's one of the only current New York rappers that still has some dignity. Tons of other rappers have weighed in; the most critically acclaimed response at the moment seems to be Joe Budden's. Wishful thinkers like the response from Papoose but I'm not a fan of it, even though it probably is one of the best responses thus far. Lupe Fiasco's "SLR 2" was amazing in my opinion. Cassidy also gave us a decent attempt to hold it down.
Last week was probably the most entertaining week in the history of hip hop. For an entire week there were no rules. Joe Budden said via video "Five years ago no one would've dared to try anything like this." I myself have been a fan of Kendrick and his TDE crew since the days of old and they've actually always thrown shots at other emcees in the industry.