Kendrick Lamar Calls Out The Entire Rap World

Kendrick+Lamar+KingKendrick Lamar wants to put all rappers on notice: He is here to be the best. He doesn’t care if you are his friend or not. He doesn’t care how long you’ve been in the game. He’s aiming for that top spot and he is not ashamed about it.

On August 12th, Big Sean released “Control”, a leftover track from his upcoming album Hall of Fame, on New York DJ Funk Master Flex’s Hot 97 radio show, and it’s got the rap world in a tizzy. The 7 1/2 minute long track has Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Electronica each spouting long verses talking about a wide  range of subjects. But what could have been just another rap song has blown up into a conversation piece over some of Lamar’s words.

First he invokes Tupac and lays claim to both the West AND East coasts:

I’m Machiavelli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York

King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both

Then he puts himself in league with Jay-Z and Nas:

Who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas

Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all

New n****s just new n****s, don’t get involved

And finally, he blasts all of the MC’s most would call his competition:

I’m usually homeboys with the same n****s im rhymin’ wit

But this is hip-hop and them n****s should know what time it is

And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, 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****s

Oooooh. Burn.

And then everybody went crazy, taking sides on whether they are now a Kendrick superfan or hater.

JustBlaze sang his praises:

Missy Elliott claimed that this would cause a rap revival:

Fabolous started looking for studios to record a response:

And Lupe Fiasco was just unimpressed:

Lupe Fiasco Tweet

In fact, he was so unimpressed that he decided to ghostwrite responses that other rappers could give (in 140 characters or less of course). Here are some of his most impressive:


Kanye Ghostwrite

Pusha T

Pusha T Ghostwrite

Rick Ross

Rick Ross Ghostwrite

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill Ghostwrite

2 Chainz

2 Chainz Ghostwrite

Personally, I smell false outrage/worship. Kendrick Lamar says a few words about wanting to be the best rapper, and all of a sudden, the Twittersphere is gearing up for rap battles to be waged. We’ll enter a new age where lyrics are thoughtful and thought-provoking again, and the music won’t make so many references to big behinds and bank rolls. Somehow a rapper that has had one (count ’em) one album is now going to reinvigorate the competitive nature of rap music. Or to quote Hillary Clinton,

“I could stand up here and say, ‘Let’s just get everybody together, let’s get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.'”

As successful as he may be off of his one commercial album, Lamar just doesn’t carry the weight to make that happen.

Rap is dead. Yes, rappers still walk the Earth. Billboard still has charts for rap music. But the days of Biggie and Tupac are gone. The era of N.W.A. and A Tribe Called Quest has passed. There will never be another “Rapper’s Delight.” It’ll never be like it was.

I’m sorry to break it to those of you that have been holding on with bated breath. But it’s over. The art form that was birthed in the 1970’s at block parties in New York City has now fallen in favor of the money machine called Hip-Hop. All of the older MC’s that are still making music just make whatever they want due to their pedigree. You can’t challenge them. Everyone else is scraping around doing whatever they need to in order to make as much money as possible.

Rap had a feeling. A culture. A community. It always had lyrical content and substance. Rap wasn’t known for its competitive nature alone. And to believe that Kendrick Lamar lightweight calling out all of rap’s freshman class is monumental or pivotal is desperate to say the least. We are all foolish if we think that the likes of A$AP Rocky, Rick Ross, or Nicki Minaj will push the envelope lyrically or get in any type of substantial rap battle with anyone else. That will mess your money up.

Yeah, some of the black community might get behind something with the least bit of heft and meaning. And in Kendrick Lamar’s case, you might even have noticeably high sales figures too. But the marketplace at-large isn’t checking for that. And as long as those same ignorant puppets are there for the industry heads to trot out as their own personal cash cows, the game ain’t changing.

Listen to the whole track here:

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What do you think of Kendrick Lamar’s statement? Can rap be saved? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.

1 Response

  1. Austin says:

    Haha Lupe seems a little upset by this, insecure much?

    Kendrick laid out a challenge, plain and simple, and the rap world just cried LOL. He wins.