On Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Control’ Verse
Andrew Gastelum | Wednesday, August 28, 2013
It was just one verse. One verse. It’s not on an album. It’s not on the radio. It’s not even his own song.
But, somehow, he caught everyone’s attention. He had the crumbling world of rap crying: All hail King Kendrick.
It was just one verse, yet it jumpstarted Twitter, blew up the internet and will continue to feed blogs for the rest of the year until he wins the Grammy for Album of the Year.
What Kendrick Lamar did in one verse has never been done before. He’s rebuilding the allure of rap while reincarnating the lore of Pac and Big. The amount of response verses and disses that immediately burst from the underground, home studios and labels alike is unmatchable.
The lucid passion and rising anger of a 26-year old whose only studio album just went platinum has drawn a quick response and the ire of vets Lupe Fiasco, Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden along with the younger generation of rap like Joey Bada$$ and B.o.B.
Who in history has drawn that sort of response, that sort of reaction? Not from individuals but from rap itself.
In his “Control” verse, Kendrick condemns the poppy trends that have led to the decay of rap with trifling Macklemorian verses and “Molly” club bangers from across the board.
What Kendrick did is pull the dying art over his back, and pull it up single-handedly while calling on his peers. Rap fans put too much focus on who he didn’t mention, when they are just missing the real point.
We’re tired of sitting around and watching rap fall. It’s time to do something about it and it starts with a ceremonial call to action. And here Kendrick does that.
He wants the new generation to step up, or let this art fall by the wayside. He doesn’t care if you’re his friend or if you share his song. He’s here to win.
It’s the ultimate competition, something along the majestic lines of Bird vs. Magic: the fiercest competition on the court and the best of friends off it.
That’s how rap used to be, coast-to-coast, lyric-to-hook. And that’s where Kendrick Lamar wants it to return. The way he did it: stunning. The culture he brought back to life: legendary.
All hail King Kendrick.
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The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.