Lamar proclaims himself the King of New York in a verse on Big Sean's "Control"
Kendrick Lamar just ignited a nationwide war of words — if other rappers have the stomach for it. Lamar called out almost a dozen top rappers during a verse on Big Sean’s “Control,” which debuted online Monday.
After proclaiming rappers like Big K.R.I.T., A$AP Rocky and Drake his “homeboys,” Lamar said he wanted to murder them and “make sure your core fans never heard of you.”
The Compton rapper also harked back to the violent East Coast-West Coast wars of rap’s primeval years by proclaiming himself the King of New York. Lest you think he's seeking a prison sentence, Lamar is talking about slaying them with words.
"They don't wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n****."
The rest of the rap community responded with a mix of wonder and competitive fire (see left).
“I heard u loud and clear my n****," Pusha T, a regular collaborator of Kanye West’s and one-half of rap duo Clipse, tweeted.
The Mississippi-bred Big K.R.I.T. declared it “gladiator s—" while Prodigy of Mobb Deep said the lyric was "dope" and that those who objected were "thirsty for fame."
Even LeBron James weighed in. Though James has not followed in the mistaken, er, genius footsteps of Shaquille O’Neal by trying to rap, he declared this "real hip hop at his best.”
Rappers like Pusha T and K.R.I.T. must now decide whether they want to take Lamar's verse as a direct challenge to respond and start a battle or treat it as motivation to elevate their game.
It's been a while since there was a legitimate back and forth between two rappers at their peak, a constant during the 1990s and a foundation of the genre. Instead, rappers have spent the past decade giving "ostentatious" a new meaning by bragging about their wealth, their cars and their women (usually with a more crass pseudonym).
Lamar is not the most commercial rapper, but his latest album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” went platinum because of his quick wit, gift for language and alliance with Dr. Dre. In the span of a few years, he's gone from an unknown teen to one of the most respected lyricists alive.
It seems to have gone to his head, as he placed himself on the level of all-time greats Jay-Z, Nas and Eminem.
Jay-Z and Nas waged the last war of words worth watching (watch the video below), so who wants to step to the plate and challenge Lamar?
Here's an MTV story on the Jay-Z/Nas battle: