Kendrick Lamar is a student of hip-hop history. He looked at the state of hip-hop in 2013, and realized that there’s no tension. Everyone’s too buddy-buddy and too willing to stay in their own corner. So Kendrick Lamar shook up the game. By calling out a huge group of his peers on “Control” (including Big Sean on his own song), K-Dot is trying to bring out the best in everyone else. He figured that the best way to see everyone’s A-game was to go right at them, so that’s exactly what he did. The only question now is, who’s going to respond? The answer is, several rappers already have (though none of them were name-dropped by Kendrick in his verse).
Fred the Godson, who was part of XXL’s Freshman Class alongside Kendrick, also responded, with a song entitled “Say My Name”. B.o.B. even created a response, “How 2 Rap”. But the best response to “Control” came from Lupe Fiasco, who was not as impressed as the rest of us. He tweeted his thoughts on the verse before ghostwriting several responses for the rappers whom Kendrick mentioned, including Drake, Jay-Z, Pusha T, and Wale. Because Lupe’s twitter account is private, only his followers were initially able to see his ghost raps. They all brilliantly capture the styles of various rappers in 140 characters. Say what you want about Lupe, but that man is talented.
The best thing about all the responses? It’s exactly what K-Dot wanted. He wanted the rest of the rap game to get on his level. Maybe he wanted a rival as well. Regardless, the pressure is now on every rapper that got called out, and any rapper who feels that they belong in the conversation. These early responses are just the beginning. More rappers will respond, and Kendrick will respond to the responses. Personally, of all the rappers Kendrick mentioned, I’m most excited to hear what Pusha T has to say. After all of Kendrick’s numerous accomplishments in the last two years, bringing back the battle-rap culture of the late 90s would be his greatest feat yet. Kendrick Lamar’s rise to the top of the rap game has been meteoric. But changing the game in one night? As I said before this going to be fun.