Photo: Meeting Kendrick Lamar in NYC after a show in 2012
After hearing your album, “Section .80,” when it first released, I had a gut feeling that you would be the one to help steer Hip Hop back into the right direction. Sure, Corporate/Mainstream Rap has its way of manipulating what Hip Hop is, but there are those who never stray from its true essence.
Now, a lot of people will argue that us “Hip Hop purists,” whatever that means, don’t want Hip Hop to evolve – that is false. We want nothing more than to see Hip Hop grow as if it were our own child. But like any over-protective parent, we really just want to see our “child” grow up responsibly and to their full potential.
Don’t get me wrong. There have always been traces of “ratchet” Rap in Hip Hop since its emergence but none that could compare to what’s on the radio today. Bad b*tches, Molly and “swag” fill the airwaves while the younger generation assume that this is what Hip Hop culture is. That Kanye, 2 Chainz and Drake are the best to ever do it — oh, how far we’ve strayed. Ask an 80′s baby who their Top 5 of all time is & you sure as hell won’t find any of those aforementioned cats on their list.
Interestingly enough, your latest verse on Big Sean’s track “Control,” sheds light – no, wait.. puts a high voltage spotlight on some sh*t we NEEDED to hear in Hip Hop today, badly.
Aside from claiming the NY throne, something that hasn’t been done by another West Coast MC – since Snoop Dogg & Kurupt dropped “New York, New York”, you, the Cali-bred MC spit:
“I’m important like the pope, I’m a Muslim on pork. I’m Machiavelli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York. King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both..
I heard the barbershops be in great debates all the time. Who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga & Nas. Eminem, Andre 3000.. the rest of y’all new n*ggas just new n*ggas, don’t get involved — I’m usually homeboys w/ the same n*ggas I’m rhymin’ wit, but this is Hip Hop & them n*ggas should know what time it is. And this goes for Jermaine Cole, Big Krit, Wale – Pusha T, Meek Mill, ASAP Rocky, Drake – Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miler – 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 don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n*ggas. What’s competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high. Who tryna jump & get it? You better off tryna skydive.”
Taking a moment to let the bars marinate for a second.. I’d challenge people to try & come up with a rebuttal to this statement I’m about to make:
YOU BODIED THAT VERSE!
I bet you no one can even argue that.
After personally interviewing Hip Hop legends such as Pete Rock, Ski Beatz and Camp Lo for our The Revival web series, they all mentioned how much they are a fan of you, Mr. Lamar. How you have raised the bar, as far as bold lyricism goes, in Hip Hop today. How you top their list of favorite emcees of this new era. And so on & so on. These Hip Hop heavyweights vouch for you and I do too.
For me, you bring all the elements of Hip Hop back into focus. Elements that seemed to have been long forgotten in Hip Hop, with the surge of video ho*s, DJ’s who only spin for money, hype beasts, & fake beefs. You bring back BOOM BAP (with your own modern twist), the MC, battle raps, diss tracks, coastal bias and put a humble, yet aggressive, perspective on Hip Hop. Something that has been missing in the “mainstream” world far too long – to the demise of artists who are only concerned about checks, fame, brand name labels and big booties. Not to say that all those cats you call out in your verse are only about the superficial – but my assumption is pretty damn close.
There is nobody else from the newer, younger Hip Hop class of this generation that is “keepin’ it 100″ – & that’s just me, keepin’ it 100.
So to you, Kendrick Lamar, thank you. As a Hip Hop head, who grew up along with it in the 90′s..
I appreciate you and your music.
They say Hip Hop died. And if it did, well – you just helped resurrect it.
Drop a track with Eminem already!
Maria “My-My” Yap