Opinion: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Control’ Verse Is A Hip-Hop Public Service

K. Dot slayed all of your favorite rappers last night, and you should be grateful

Kendrick Lamar’s name-dropping mass murder on Big Sean’s “Control” was not intended to become a Twitter trending topic. With reactions ranging from “Praise K. Dot as the new king,” to “Who the hell does this dude think he is?” the conversation that has been cooked up is just a residual effect of something far more important taking place. And regardless of how you feel, let’s be clear: The man just did hip-hop a favor.

Fact: Hip-hop’s new school is making sound waves with their reinstatement of the appreciation for lyricism and camaraderie. But hip-hop ain’t no frat house. The art of this culture thrives off the measuring stick, and Kendrick is simply reminding his contemporaries that there is history to be made. A flame has been lit under the ass of every rapper he chose to name and a response—direct or otherwise—has been solicited. As an interesting choice, the Compton rapper chose to mention J. Cole’s (full) name first and foremost, leading one to believe that Kendrick sees Cole as his most worthy adversary. Any real fan of the genre would be geeked about a little rap tussle between these two.

And a few others have already heard the call. Pusha T, another one of the ducks that has been lined up, took to his Twitter to let Kendrick know “I hear u loud and clear my nigga…” But the shot heard ‘round the world came when K. Dot proclaimed himself the King of New York. This forced Brooklyn’s own Talib Kweli to beg the question: “Y’all new rappers ready to stop rapping like y’all from down south yet?” Rappers who hadn’t even been mentioned like Joe Budden and Fabolous are now up in arms and prepared to hit the booth. A$AP Rocky (who has been called out) hasn’t gotten back to him just yet. And if the idea of rappers like these rising up to reclaim the hip-hop mecca from the hands of a Compton kid doesn’t excite you in the least, you can stop reading this now.

Kendrick’s stance on “Control” is not be agreed or disagreed with, it is to be challenged. With this verse as well as J. Cole’s and Wale’s entire albums, Sir Aubrey Graham should be cooking up a legendary dish for Nothing Was The Same. As the arguable spark that set this new hip-hop generation ablaze, Drake had better watch the throne with both eyes. —Iyana Robertson