Monday night, Funkmaster Flex premiered Big Sean's "Control" featuring Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica. According to Sean, "This one that didn't make the album cuz of the sample BUT IT IS NOT no radio sh-t.. Straight rap... I'm talking 7min sh-t... Grimey sh-t." And while Sean and Jay delivered serviceable, if forgettable, verses, Lamar set off an atomic bomb, proclaiming himself "King of New York," mocking rappers who shout out Molly and calling out his competition by name:
"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 later raps, in a ferocious growl lying somewhere between Canibus circa 1997 and Slim Shady-era Eminem, that he's just "tryna raise the bar high," but hip hop Twitter exploded as soon as the verse was released, with #twitpicyourreactionafterhearingkendricksverse trending nationally.
Lamar also places himself in the hip hop pantheon, rhyming, "I heard the barbershops be in great debates all the time/Bout who's the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas/Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y'all/New n-ggas just new n-ggas, don't get involved."
The verse is an instant classic; a conversation starter; a call to arms; a declaration of friendly competition. For all the consciousness and philosophizing on Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, this is Kendrick is wild dog mode. Now the question is: Who'll respond?