Kendrick Lamar. K Dot. King Kendrick.
However you wish to address him, this man is heating up in the hip hop scene. The Compton, CA native who cites major rap icons Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre as two of his biggest influences is making a name for himself with his controversial lyrics and bold personality. Since the release of his mixtape Overly Dedicated in 2010, Lamar’s prominence has skyrocketed.
In 2011, Lamar was included the cover of hip hop magazine XXL’s annual “Top 10 Freshman Class” release. Just over a year later, his debut album with a major record label entitled good kid, m.A.A.d city was released. The project opened with 241,000 copies sold in the first week and has since gone platinum.
Lamar has been praised as one of hip hop’s more lyrical emcees. Despite his success, however, many fans of the genre had not truly began to take notice of his talent. Lamar’s reputation changed in August 2013 when he was featured on an unreleased track from fellow rapper Big Sean’s upcoming album. Taking the second verse of the record “Control,” Lamar spits one of the most aggressive verses in recent hip hop memory, verbally challenging his peers in the industry. Here is an excerpt:
“…..I’m usually homeboys with the same n-ggas I’m rhymin’ wit
But this is hip hop and them n-ggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n-ggas
Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n-ggas
They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n-ggas…..”
Lamar’s verse sparked a series of responses from other rappers that took offense. But the self-proclaimed King Kendrick didn’t stop there. Recently, at the BET Hip Hop Awards, Lamar brought out more strong words, allegedly attacking rapper Drake and reinforcing his statements from “Control.” Listen to his full verse below:
So what do you think? Does Kendrick have a firm grasp of the hip hop game? Can he be mentioned in conversations with the likes of Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, Eminem, and other greats? Or will he meet his match when challenged by his fellow contemporaries. Only time will tell, but hip hop is a competitive game. If Kendrick Lamar accomplished one thing, its that there is now a huge target on his back, with countless hungry emcees aiming for his spot.