A couple of days ago, the public got word of Big Sean’s latest track “Control” from his sophomore album Hall of Fame; however, it’s Kendrick Lamar’s verse that is causing an utter uproar among all hip-hopheads. Many people are perceiving Kendrick’s lyrics as a diss track to his fellow MC’s, but my honest opinion is that he is simply being real. It’s been a while since the rappers of this new generation have been professionally threatened, allowing them to get by on commercializing their rhymes rather than producing genuinely impressive lyricism. Thus, I would call Kendrick’s words a call to action before I call it a diss track. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few rappers who do display their talent properly, while there are even more who could do so but choose not to and that’s the problem. Rappers are getting too comfortable.
Since the verse was heard around the world, social networking sites have become billionaires with everyone’s two cents (yes, I made my own donation, as well) and even a few “responses” are beginning to make their way into the viral world. So far, I must admit that I’m most impressed with Bad Boy’s King Los, a rapper I had never even heard of, who delivers a classy rebuttal to Kendrick’s infamous lines. He says his piece, proves his point, and still manages to respect his colleagues all at the same time. In my opinion, he directly reflects Kendrick’s own tone on Big Sean’s track. With that being said, my favorite response comes from none other than Joel Ortiz, who, despite his clear rage, is able to deliver a top notch set of bars in record time. Yeah, Ortiz sounds mad, but I guess he had to be inspired by something. I think Joel did what he needed to do to win round one of this debate by including egotism, passion, and references to the original source of Kendrick’s verse. Point to Ortiz.
However, like most of the hip hop world, I am definitely looking forward to the responses of some big names in the rap industry. It is way too early for Joel Ortiz to be the biggest name with a response to Kendrick. But I’m not interested because I want to see music artists antagonizing or belittling each other. I don’t see this revival of lyrics as an excuse to bash one another over a beat, but I think it should be taken more as an opportunity to prove why they deserve to be a player in the game. I’m interested to see how far these rappers can push their creativity and vocabulary to the point where their intelligence and innovative instincts are what make them get noticed. Kendrick wasn’t trying to diss anybody. He was trying to keep people on their toes. He clearly states that he has love for the rappers he calls out, but that he’s also trying to beat them. The music industry is a competition and Kendrick singled himself out as a lyricist who wants to compete. Now, it’s up to others to defend their place as competitors as well, but what Kendrick did is remind the world that the competition is based on talent and not commercialism, at least the competition of rap. He may have gotten a lot of people mad, but he also may have taken lyricism out of retirement.