Hip Hop just turned 40 years old recently, and one of the earliest forms of it lies in the competitive nature it thrives off of. The need for other MC’s to go down in history as one of the greats used to serve as a necessity in our culture. Of course as the years have gone by, the art has dumbed down, but what Kendrick Lamar did on Big Sean’s new track was utterly..brilliant. Not only did he call out rappers by name, he actually had the balls to call himself the ‘King of New York’. Plenty of people were initially ruffled by this but you have to look at the bigger picture.
Think about the current scene of hip hop right now. Who do you listen to that’s actually from New York and has been consistently putting out quality music? Joey Bada$$,who has moderate buzz right now and is from Brooklyn, took it upon himself to call Big Sean’s verse wack when he should’ve been focused on this guy from the West Coast claiming his turf. Not only did K. Dot throw around such a coveted title, he also attacked the new school of rappers as a way to ask them to lyrically step their game up moving forward:
“I’m usually homeboys with the same n—-s i’m rhymin with/ But this is hip-hop and them n—-s should know what time it is/ And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale/ Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake/ Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller/ I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n—-s/ Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n—-s/ They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n—as,”
This prompted a slew of responses from almost everyone mentioned including other rappers that weren’t. “Any studios open yet?” Fabolous inquired earlier this morning. Fact of the matter is, this is a move that was necessary. With New York serving as the Mecca of Hip hop, Kendrick saw this as an opportunity to start a lyrical war that could either be in all fun, or really set off a much needed spark in the rap game. Look at us. We’ve been seriously lacking for YEARS now. What makes us upset is that the city doesn’t have anyone we consider a savior to immediately step in the booth and have a response to what K. Dot said. Is this discouraging? Yes. But only because there isn’t anyone you can readily think of right now that can challenge him to this obnoxious claim.
I mean this guy is from Compton. You as a New Yorker SHOULD be upset he felt that comfortable to say this but for the past few years, hip hop in it’s entirety has been soft. I say that because we’ve had nothing but radio friendly tracks hitting the streets and we embrace it sometimes because it’s all we have. We love the 2 Chainz and the French Montana’s when we’re out having a good time, but its time for shit to get gritty again. It’s time for them to challenge each other’s art. Wake these comfortable ass rappers up. Kendrick is arguably one of the best in the game right now, and Drake’s consistency is never slept on, so who’s gonna step up to the challenge?
“What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high..who’s tryna jump and get it?”
Whether you agree with his baiting tactic or not, Kendrick just made a lot of rappers rethink the music they’ve been releasing. We’ve been having fun all year, but the essence of Hip Hop is the competitive nature. What happened to wanting to be better than your peers? I personally wasn’t offended at all, and it’s because I’am a fan. I want to experience breath taking lyrics again. Rewind worthy songs that’ll keep my attention for more than just two days. But to you rappers, you can either be mad at the audacity of the challenge, or step up to it. If he didn’t name check you, you should probably be even more offended than those named but I’m not your coach. Again, I’am just a fan. I can foresee some very credible rappers giving it there all right now because they feel a way and this will make for some incredible music to come. For that Kendrick, I thank you. I’ll be listening.