First and foremost, I am a hip hop fan if you don’t know by now. Second, I am a Kendrick Lamar fan, and have been for a a while. I have all his mixtapes, as well as his albums, so needless to say, I love his scene stealing, gut checking verse on whomever is that other rapper’s name song. Truth be told, even though I think the verse is great, because I have his whole discography, I’ve heard him deliver better verses. That’s not to say that the verse was wack, like I said IMO, it was great and it outshined clearly the other two rappers but I’ve heard him spazz out and leave the mic literally smoking.
That’s just one of the many great things about Kendrick’s verse. He was able to turn into Cliff Notes the other two emcees’ lyrics on the song, to a Jeopardy question in ten years with 16 bars. That, and he has the WHOLE world, and not just hip hop, talking about the verse and actually excited about hip hop. Kendrick’s verse has gotten so much attention, that both Twitter and Facebook went nuts and was even featured in USA Today. I can’t remember the last time hip hop has generated this much positive excitement; usually, anytime in a major publication where hip hop is mentioned, it is because of something negative, or Jay-Z’s bank account.
Another thing that Kendrick’s verse does is blow life into a, dare I say, almost dormant genre. Hip hop has gotten so soft and safe, that rappers have allowed their bank accounts to make them lyrically fat and lazy. Rappers care no longer about their craft, let alone being the best, all while relying on the same content; they have become indistinguishable from one other. Instead of creativity, we get recycled versions of the same five hip hop songs that are lucky enough to get mainstream radio play, equipped with the standard hook from Future. Rap and rappers have “devolved” a lot in the last 5 or more years.
Enter Kendrick’s Control verse. Not only did he let sucker emcees know “shit ain’t sweet” and it’s not a game anymore, but he called out by name, many of his peers. These are people who he respects and “for better or worse rappers” who are hot in today’s hip hop. Lyrically checking their manhood, he put them on notice to step up their game, and that weak bars and recycled material aren’t going to fly anymore. Gunning for Hip Hop’s number one spot, Kendrick self proclaimed boldly on both the East and West coasts, to be the best in the game, when he said “I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m King of New York, King of the Coast, one hand I juggle them both”. By this verse alone, a lot of your favorite rappers got their panties in a bunch, along with their fans who seem to have taken it even harder.
But, for those who admitted to being lazy and half assing it the last couple of years, they took this as a challenge in good competition and went back to the lab to record their responses. Some anonymous, no-name rappers, as well as respected emcees seemed to feel reinvigorated and got their second wind back because of Kendrick’s “bow down” verse. And that is the curious thing about the verse. It took a young upstart, who is a student of his craft, and who unlike most of his peers, actually cares about lyrics. He lit a fire in hip hop that should have never died.
No disrespect to Kendrick, but rappers should have been doing all along what his verse is doing to the rap game right now. Hip hop should have never reached a place where it is so stagnant. This young whipper snapper has been only in the game for five or so years, and gives the genre the shot in the arm that has been missing; add to that, a sense of competition that has been missing for a while now. But again, this is what’s so genius about the verse. The fact that it has rappers going back to the lab, just so they can show Kendrick that they are not going to be done by a youngin’. As long as the quality, passion, and the music improves, then I’m all for it.
What do you think about Kendrick’s verse? Do you think it’s good competition or a diss record?
Talk to me, I’ll back.