This week will be remembered as “the time Kendrick Lamar broke the Internet.” His verse on Big Sean's “Control” took no prisoners and named names, with K. Dot proclaiming himself the “King of New York,” much to the consternation of the rappers who are actually from there.
A ton of performers, from NYC and otherwise, responded, and we listened to all of them (so you don't have to). Below, the best “Control”-related lines of the week.
5. “This nigga Drake nice on the mic and act/So many hits, he fucked around and brought light skin back/And Big Sean you did it, no you really did it, no bullshitting/You putting the D on, I could see the future, no Warwick” — Los, 'Control (Remix)' lyrics
King Los offers a sop to the wounded egos of the rappers Kendrick mentioned by name, saying something nice about each of them. The joke about Drake's skin tone, as well as the Dionne (“D on” — get it?) Warwick/Psychic Friends Network pun, make this perhaps the funniest moment to come out of an otherwise serious rap dialogue.
4. “You rich rappers can't respond with all the dollars you get/Gangsta rappers can't retaliate with hollows and clips/And you fashion rappers wear the kind of jeans that hardly get zipped/So zip it, I got this shit, real hip-hop in this bitch” — Joell Ortiz, 'Control (Remix)' lyrics
Brooklyn's Joell Ortiz was perhaps the first to respond to “Control,” and among the best. Here, he pokes fun at the rappers who don't step up to Kendrick's challenge, with a funny-'cause-it's-true list of the reasons they refuse.
3. “It's hard being a Lupe fan, go to Harvard to be a Lupe stan/I ain't saying that I'm harder, it's just harder when it's in Lupe's hands” — Lupe Fiasco, 'SLR 2' lyrics
Lupe's response was, as is his wont, a little more complex than just a dis. He questioned the need to respond at all, went crazy with the metaphors, and pushed out some of the most creative brags since…well…his own last mixtape. And he clears up any potential misinterpretation of the “hard” section on the outro — “Hold up, go back to the hard part/Would say pause, but I was talking 'bout my own balls,” he helpfully explains.
2. “You the king of New York? Beg your pardon/The king of LA is dead and that nigga from Harlem” — Mickey Factz, 'South Park' lyrics
Mickey Factz' response track was the only one to really make on-point rebuttals directly to Kendrick, from claims that he stole Fab's style to mocking references to his early underground rap days. This nod to Tupac's biography, though, was the best of the bunch.
1. “I'm usually homeboys with the same niggas I'm rhyming wit/But this is hip-hop and them niggas 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 niggas/Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas/They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas” — Kendrick Lamar, 'Control' lyrics
A longer quote than we normally allow for LOTW, but since all rules were broken this week (including the recent hip-hop gentlemen's agreement about not naming names on records), it seemed only fair to include this whole section. This was the culmination of K. Dot's show-stopping long verse, and it showed that he really means it when he says he's the best — an opinion, by the way, that any rapper worth his or her salt should have of themselves.
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