Kendrick Lamar Explains ‘Control’ In-Depth With Rosenberg

Kendrick Lamar dialed into HOT97 to discuss his fiery “Control” verse at length.

On recognizing the impact:
“It took a couple of days. I was in the U.K. for a second. You can’t really feel the energy out there like in the States. I got a real good Internet service at a particular moment and I seen a bunch of response records and I knew for a fact it inspired a few cats to go out there and do their thing.

On the inspiration behind the verse:
“From the moment I did the verse, it really was a feature verse. I rally just wanted to get on there and just rap and put my best foot forward and just challenge myself to write some bars but I didn’t think it would be … what people think it was supposed to be.”

On calling out his rap peers:
“Nah I ain’t hear from nobody but I wasn’t worried that it would affect relationships. At the end of the day, if you listen to the line, these are cats that I feel can inspire the game and they aspire to be the best just like I feel I aspire to be the best. If they’re competitive and they respect the culture, they shouldn’t feel like there should be any type of ill feel that you have towards it, you know … It’s like this where you got Twitter, your friends and social media putting a situation at a higher level, it makes someone feel a certain way just in general. It’s rap man and people I respect know that I respect em and the whole point of the culture is to elevate it at the end of the day.”

On the “King of New York” line:
“Man, I go back here and it makes me feel like I gotta dumb down my lyrics nowadays for people to take it out context the way they did … The cats sat down with the past week really got a understanding it’s not about the culture or which side we’re on, it’s about being great, as Biggie, as Pac, the two cats that I reference from jump. I feel like I’m a student of the work that they did. When I put down 20 years in the game, I can eventually plant my foot in the same type of legacy but for people to try and make it something that it’s not, I’d never take the history of what Pac or Biggie lay and to keep it 100 with you, Snoop will always be no. 1 and I’m from the West Coast and he gave me that but out of respect for my big homie, I understand it. I only go tone album out. I got years to be doing this so at the end of the day Snoop will always be my big homie and the legends that came before me but I can’t stop myself from trying to be great just like them.”

On Jay Z’s reaction:
“That’s actually classified between me and him but it was all love, all respect. Same way Diddy and a few other cats. At the end of the day, they’re gonna be cats who are trying to make it a rivalry. That’s old school homie. We’re Black men out here trying to uplift the culture. My first filled-out show was in New York so I always looked at that place as a place of respect with my lyrics and me respecting the culture and the birthplace of it.”

On Papoose’s response record:
“I thought it was comical, if anything but not only that, I respect the game and I understand when an opportunity presents itself, you gotta make a way for yourself. That was a perfect opportunity to get that buzz and he went and got that buzz for himself. At the end of the day, I want to see everybody eatin.'”

He also chooses his favorite response record and discusses his thoughts on radio in the full interview above.