By now many of you have heard the latest song from Big Sean Ft Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica, ‘Control.’ If not do yourself a favor and check it out below.
Now, I wanted to wait before posting the song, which leaked a couple of days ago, because I also wanted to post some of the responses from other artists. What Kendrick Lamar did, in my opinion, was genius. I am surprised I didn’t see it coming. I remember reading an interview with him awhile back where he mentioned he wanted everyone to stop with all the “Molly” references. A few weeks after that, I saw his “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” video and it pretty much continued with what he was saying in his interview. Now yes, everyone talking about popping Molly’s was getting out of hand, but I don’t think that was the only thing he wanted to change. It just so happened that that was the newest gimmick in rap music which continued on the trend of gang banging, misogyny, money, drug use, etc etc that was in almost every single song on the radio. What Kendrick did was knowing that his buzz is pretty big right now, especially after his album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, was recently certified platinum, he basically backed most rappers into a corner and kinda forced them to step up their lyricism. In essence, he is trying to bring back hip hop into the mainstream.
Now for those who listen to hip hop and are not complacent with the radio dictating what should be heard, we all know that hip hop was never dead. It may have taken a backseat to the overly personified vices prevalent in rap, but it was never dead. The true art form was easily found in underground artists, mix tapes, etc. Yes, they didn’t get the radio play they deserved, but such is the music industry and really all media in general. I have my own conspiracy theories as to why this is so, but that is another topic for another post. The lyrical responses are coming in and the debate has already started on who’s song is better and if it is better than Kendrick’s verse. But I don’t believe the end goal was just to have these artist spit (or make an attempt) one super lyrical song and then revert back to the same sh*t they were doing before. No, what Kendrick did was tell them that he is forever striving to be better than them, to be mentioned as one of the greatest to ever do it, and not so subliminally get them to improve as well. Hip hop has always been a competitive form of music, more so than any other genre. It’s basis originated in freestyle battles on the block. Those freestyling didn’t necessarily have beef with each other, but as in any sport, competition improves the game overall. In no way was he dissing anyone as some people may think. If anything he was challenging everyone to improve and what better way to do that than to name drop?
The biggest question is where does hip hop go from here? Will it make it’s triumphant return into the mainstream? Will we see more platinum plaques for artists who deserve it? Will we once again award lyricism instead of gimmicks? I don’t know. I would like to hope so, I would like to think that we get better albums in the future and better music overall. Only time will tell if this will happen. In the mean time, as with any sport, the fans will be the ones who benefit the most from the improved competition and who knows maybe 15 years later we will look back on this as a turning point in Hip Hop ushering in another Golden Era.
Here are some of the responses around the InterWebz. I’m sure there will be more coming.
Yes, Iman Shumpert of the NY Knicks. Even NBA players getting in. I expect to hear from Shaq, Kobe, Chris Webber, and Ron Artest (I ain’t calling that n*gga Metta World Peace, his mama named him Ron, I’ma call him Ron).
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