Is Hip-Hop Becoming a Bullying Playground for Artists?
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 22:08
On the night of Aug. 14, 2013, there was the rap verse heard around the country that took Twitter by storm. Big Sean released a song called “Control,” which included UConn’s spring concert headliner, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Electronica. Lamar, of course, was the star of the song. But the one verse that had everyone saying, “Ooo, kill ‘em,” was when Lamar said, “I’m the king of New York.” Mind you, Lamar is from Compton, Calif.
In his verses, Lamar mentioned himself as the best MC along with Jay Z, Nas, Eminem and Andre 3000, but called out other rappers such as Drake, Wale and J. Cole. After hearing the song, Lamar fans and hip-hop fans tweeted their reactions. Eventually, other rappers, like Cassidy, who were not even mentioned in the song, were offended and responded through their own verses.
But was Lamar trying to revive hip-hop or was he being a bully by calling out other rappers? Lamar was simply trying to revive hip-hop and give its heart a ‘beat.’
Lamar made a public service announcement and did every hip-hop fan a favor by trying to tell other rappers to simply ‘bring it.’ Rappers have gotten too comfortable by being friends with other rappers, but hesitate to ‘bring the heat’ in a friendly rap battle.
Sadly, people took the verses out of context. Instead of ‘listening’ to the songs, they were just only ‘hearing.’ People listen to songs just to say they heard them to participate in the conversations on social networks and to make themselves seem like they are true hip-hop fans.
Lamar even defended himself in the song saying, “I’m usually homeboys with the same ni**as I’m rhymin’ with/But this is hip-hop and them ni**as should know what time it is…I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you ni**as…What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high…”
We often tend to reminisce about how good music was ‘back in the day.’ Rappers would battle each other in 16 bars back-and-forth and come hard and passionate with their verses, but at the end of the day, rappers remained friends. Now, people are more sensitive and take a lot of things to heart, hence, Kanye West and his hissy fits with the media.
Every now and then we come across a good song or album that still can be played years from now and be considered a classic. But now, most hip-hop music is based on ‘twerking’ and ‘turning up’ (do not even get me started on this phrase). So I do not blame Lamar for trying to do what others would not. He acknowledges rappers, but he wants them to do better collectively instead of it just being him trying to make the change. This could be the light that starts the new hip-hop era. And Lamar is becoming the leader of the movement.
For other rappers that were offended, I say to you that Lamar cannot mention everyone in a 7 minute, 37 second song. One, that would take forever, so he mentioned today’s popular rappers. Second, this is not his song, but Big Sean’s. And third, the ones that were offended and responded were trying to get themselves noticed or were hoping to obtain relevance.
Hopefully none of the rappers mentioned or not mentioned in the song take this to heart and try to start something more than what the song was intended to do. We have seen what happens when rap beefs go wrong. The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur were two of the best (if not, the greatest) rappers of their time. Their passion for the microphone created a beef between the East and West coast. But the lives they lived and rapped about led to their deaths at young ages.
Lamar is definitely a hip-hop artist to be reckoned with. His poetic story-like flow will turn into a battle if need be.