Almost half of Twitter’s trending topics (“Drake,” “#Control,” “Kendrick,” “King of NY,”) this morning come from one single source: Kendrick Lamar’s insane, instant-classic verse on Big Sean’s “Control (HOF).” But first, the backstory: because Sean was unable to clear the track, which also features Jay Electronica, to appear on his upcoming album Hall of Fame, he leaked it to New York radio personality Funkmaster Flex, who debuted it on Monday night on Hot 97. He thus set in motion what will go down as a career-defining moment for Lamar, a guy who already had ascended to the top of most “best rapper alive” lists thanks to his richly detailed major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city.
But his decision to take on nearly every contemporary rapper that matters, including Sean and Electronica, may now stand as his crowning achievement, especially for anyone who misses titanic artists going directly at each other (as opposed to, say, Jay-Z taking on Harry Belafonte). Though Kendrick’s spirited verse is wide-ranging (at one point, he calls himself “the king of New York,” despite his L.A. roots), these are the lyrics in question (via Complex):
Bout who’s the best MC?
Kendrick, Jigga and Nas
Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all
New niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved
And I ain’t rockin no more designer shit
White Ts and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous
I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ 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 don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas
What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high…”
While plenty rappers have responded via Twitter, now we’ll wait for their lyrical retorts.