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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

King Kendrick

Funny thing, every rapper can say they're on the best on any given song, yet all it takes is one dude to speak the names of his peers and let them know he is out to embarass them on any and every feature, every verse, at any time to get people up in arms. Even when the 'shot' or 'diss' isn't a shot or diss at all. In fact it just served to clarify what has been going on for the past two or three years, when you have Kendrick on a song, he is likely to show you up and put forth more effort than you as you coast on your name recognition. But what am I talking about? well the new song/freestyle from "Big Sean" - lol, with Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica.



If you haven't heard it by now you must be under a rock for real but there it is for your listening pleasure- and it's the clean funkmaster flex radio played version. Now honestly when I first heard it i felt it was the normal solid verse from Kendrick but everyone was so into the actual part where he names names and to a lesser extent, at least for me when he mentions being the king of NY and LA and he juggles both coasts. Like I have said before on twitter and etc, Kendrick is a beast lyrically but the fervor surrounding this is crazy. Let me try to decipher why.

For one thing, the type of aggression, especially direct competition in the face of his peers isn't seen anymore. The 90's were one of the biggest times of competition with the height of NY rappers and some of it probably contributed to the downfall as it left wax and after the build up of the Nas- Jay-z Battle nothing really lived up. Kendrick brings the entire barber shop debate to the forefront when he names his lyrical peers and his intentions to spit fire. It's such a departure from the happy go lucky times in hip-hop now where everyone has money, everyone is friendly and being extra careful not to step on toes that it has created a sense of anticipation. The other significant factor is that Kendrick is one of the few rappers that has brought lyricism to the forefront and gained a lot of acceptance. I like Wale but looking at social media, he is very unloved. J. Cole has a following but just as many people aren't sold on him. Drake can rap, but he is known for his catchy cultural anthems more than his bars. For this generation, it feels like this is the first time they are aware of what seemed like a weekly occurrence.

Let me say this, the first thing I thought of with this was Big Pun. If Pun were alive today, people's minds would be blown like the man in the at&t commercial with the kids. That dude was a beast in all facets of the game and had the same aggression. The Jay-z and Nas issue has been well documented because they were at the top of their games. Beanie Sigel came out hungry, the Roc-a-fella Hot 97 takeover was some of the most serious rap from hungry dudes you will ever, ever in your life hear. You could tell these guys were rhyming to get off of the streets. It wasn't beef it was all about proving yourself like 5 on 5 at the basketball proving grounds. Going into the studio was going to war.



Now, in response we are going to hear misguided shots like the one taken by my dude Joell Ortiz who felt left out and doesn't do a bad job, but it wasn't great either. Problem is it misses the idea that Kendrick is saying put it all on the line with every verse on every track. That's the only way this can be measured, by dudes coming hard and making content and verses that are memorable and make me want to rewind to run it back again. It's not a one day "battle" being waged here. This is a race for greatness. It's like Lebron and Kobe chasing Jordan, you have to put down multiple MVP's and titles to be considered. You have to be consistent and put out bars for months, even years to really to be able to compete with what he's saying. So to all rappers and fans, keep this day in the back of your minds and realize you won't be able to say who 'won' or 'lost' this week on next month even, it will be a time consuming process.

It's crazy, dude pretty much took on the entire industry, and the money is still riding on him over everyone else. If you're under 30 and have never heard Capital Punishment....go to itunes and buy that shit right now if you think Kendrick is killing the game.


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