Over the last few days since Kendrick Lamar chimed in with a vicious verse on Big Sean’s track “Control” in which he proclaimed himself “King of New York,” the rap world has been steadily answering via Twitter, Facebook and, most important and exciting, response tracks.
For those not up on the hoo-ha, earlier this week Lamar, one of the most skilled and respected wordsmiths on the hip hop scene, set forth lines that slammed the state of hip hop in 2013 with a grand declaration: “I'm in a destruction mode if the gold exists/I'm important like the Pope, I'm a Muslim on pork/I'm Makaveli's offspring, I'm the king of New York/King of the Coast/One hand, I juggle them both.”
If that wasn’t enough, Lamar went on to dismiss fashion-minded rappers (er, Kanye West, anyone?), proclaiming himself to be “a black Beatle, I’m either that or a Marley” and, in one gaggle of lines calling out current-day stars including J. Cole, Wale, Pusha T, Mac Miller and Tyler the Creator, explained that “I got love for you all but I’m trying to murder you …”
The verse did what any great hip hop diss should: Demand response. In essence, Lamar drew a line in the sand, and in the 72 hours since rappers have accepted the challenge. Below are some of the best so far.
Joell Ortiz answered with bracing directness (and explicit language) through his verses, rapped to the original track. "I ain't even gotta give this too much thought, Joell Ortiz won every war that he ever fought," he explains in the best response so far.
This ain't no different, I'm listening you the king of New York?
Little homie you ain't the king of New York
You the next thing on my fork
The messenger with all them rings on that horse
Carrying king's heads til I kick you in your chest
And you cough and fall into a bottomless pit
Homie, you know how many bodies that fit
Chicago lyricist Lupe Fiasco has been on a tirade since Lamar mentioned him in "Control," and issued a venomous (and cuss-laden) answer in "SLR 2."
Now we all heard what he said, but what he said means we dead
And that ... is insane
He's so crazy, look at the little baby
... you ain't Nas, ... you ain't Jay-Z
You will respect me, you will reject me
But I've done so much, no matter how far you go, you will reflect me
Atlanta MC BoB offered (with explicit language) a new track called "How 2 Rap" that addressed Lamar's skills (or, as he suggests, lack thereof).
Your lyrics are wack and emotionally shallow
You lost in my thoughts, you don't know how to paddle
I know that I'm shining, I know that I'm shining
Don't worry cause you can find shade in my shadow
Elsewhere, upstart rapper Los went a different route (again with explicit language) by expressing respect to Lamar for saying what he did -- while trying to grab his attention and addressing each rapper Lamar mentioned by name:
I wrote this in Hieroglyphics, I'm focused and I am gifted
I hope that I just provoked you to notice that I am different
I feel so blessed I should mention, I pushed the depths of extension
Much higher my type of talent requires special attention
Kendrick I think you genius, J. Cole got these ... worried
Big KRIT is a southern killer, Wale is a visionary
Pusha been pushing so long he truly defines a hustler
for his part, veteran actor/rapper Ice T offered kudos to Lamar in a series of tweets.
Hey, Hip Hop stripes are born in battle.. Me and LL did our thing back in the day.. It's part of the game.— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) August 13, 2013
More will no doubt arrive as the days pass. Keep an eye out for updates.
Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @lileditCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times