It’s good to see human nature at work. For example, ever invite someone over to the crib and tell them to get comfortable? Soon thereafter, their feet are propped up on the furniture, your refrigerator is raided and Pay-Per-View movies are ordered through cable at your expense. It happens all the time— people get comfortable.
It’s appears that’s how the majority of the hip-hop community feels about a certain new artist right about now. This week, Big Sean released a song called “Control,” which features Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica, and the verse by Lamar has reverberated throughout the hip-hop community. Appears that quite a few feathers were ruffled with the following verses:
“I’m a Muslim on pork/I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York/King of the Coast/One hand, I juggle them both.
“I’m usually homeboys with the same—I’m rhyming wit’/But this is hip-hop and them 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/Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you/They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you.
“What is competition? I’m trying to raise the bar high/Who trying’ to jump and get it?”
Yeah! Someone who gets it. Lamar showed unapologetic honesty and directness to fellow emcees by actually naming individuals in an effort to be the best. Gotta respect that. If people call the music industry “the game” (or variations of it), then they gotta understand some people play to have fun, some people play to win and some play to leave a mark—whatever fuels the individual. Comprende?
In a 48-hour time span, the Twitter world went crazy, and literally hundreds of responses were recorded, with names like Kevin Hart, Diddy and Iman Shumpert chiming in. A man who has been known to disrupt the cart of hip-hop a time or two, Nasir Jones, aka Nas, when asked for his take on the furor, responded to Ms. Info of Hot 97 with the following: “Wow. My reaction is wow,” he said. “I love hip-hop right now.” The Queensbridge rapper then went down memory lane.
“Certain fans like certain eras of rap; certain fans are not up on certain eras, so they don’t really remember all of them,” he said. “KRS-One, MC Shan and all the way to Busy Bee. This is what hip-hop is all about.”
Even I was asked to opine, so here it is. On track 12 of “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” “Compton,” he says : “Now everybody serenade the new faith of Kendrick Lamar, this is King Kendrick Lamar/King Kendrick and I meant it, my point intended is raw.”
For those who listened to the album in sequence, this declaration came at the end of a trying, life-altering time, and the music gave him a reason to live. He was given a spiritual reawakening, and with that shot, he decided to go hard—as anyone would.
He ain’t supposed to grab the mic and scream, “I’m mediocre y’all, I’m mediocre y’all. I pay bills, don’t ball so I’m broker y’all,” is he? Nah, aim high and shoot for a spot amongst Rakim, Andre 3000, Talib, Nas, Pun, KRS, et al the greats. Let’s hope he has the work ethic, focus and drive to back the bravado.
Lamar plays Williamsburg Park (50 Kent Ave. at N. 12th Street) on Sept. 10. Tickets are available now at ticketmaster.com. I’m about to bounce, but I just found out the Jay Z-Justin Timberlake tour was completed. The last night: Miami, Fla. What was that about artists boycotting Florida? Hope to see y’all in D.C. this weekend.
Holla next week. Till then, enjoy the nightlife.