Kendrick Lamar | ‘Control’ | August 2013
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2013, the year of controversial rap lyrics

Kendrick Lamar | ‘Control’ | August 2013
It was guest rapper Kendrick Lamar who garnered all the attention on Big Sean’s track “Control.” Lamar proclaimed himself “king of New York,” knocking down hip-hop titans, like Jay-Z, Eminem and Andre 3000, not to mention his counterparts Drake, J. Cole and A$AP Rocky. But according to Lamar, his hip-hop brethren just didn’t get his verse and spun his lines out of context. “I’m saying I’m the most hungry. I respect the legends in the game .... Because of what they laid down, I’m going to try to go harder, breathe it and live it - that’s the point of the whole verse,” Lamar responded.  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images)
J. Cole | ‘Jodeci Freestyle’ | July 2013
Looks like this is a two-fer. In J.Cole’s track “Jodeci Freestyle” featuring rapper and actor Drake, J.Cole raps he’s artistic, while describing his competition as autistic. The line outraged the autism community and then some. It didn’t take long before the pair issued their mea culpas. J.Cole went first, and said, “To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am sorry. I’m bound to make mistakes in my life, but in my heart I just want to spread love.” Drake followed with, “I share responsibility and offer my sincerest apologies for the pain this has caused. Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds, and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted.” (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)
Jay-Z | ‘Nickels and Dimes’ | July 2013
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte said that when it comes to the image of minorities in Hollywood, people like Jay-Z and Beyonce have turned their backs on social responsibility. Naturally, Jay-Z had a problem with Belafonte’s statement. So on his latest album in the track “Nickels and Dimes,” Jay-Z slams Belafonte for not giving him the respect he deserves and says the actor isn’t aware of things Jay-Z does for the people in his community. The rapper also calls Belafonte’s famous song “Day O,” a “fail.”  (Jim Ross / Associated Press)
Kanye West | ‘I’m In It’ and ‘On Sight’ | June 2013
Where to begin with Kanye West’s “Yeezus” album? First, West distastefully raps about sexual acts with Asian women in the track “I’m In It.” The indignation, obvious. He goes on to rap about Parkinson’s disease in another track titled “On Sight,” picking on the tremor that is a symptom of the illness. No apologies here. Just Kanye being Kanye.  (Matt Sayles / Invision)
Lil Wayne | ‘Karate Chop’ | May 2013
Lil Wayne is no stranger to controversy. (Rapping about “sizzurp” and stomping on the American flag, anyone?) This time, the debate ensued over his crude sexual reference to civil rights figure Emmett Till. As Times reporter Gerrick Kennedy wrote, in the track “Karate Chop,” the tatted entertainer compared “his sexual prowess to the 1955 assault of Till -- a 14-year-old African American who was tortured and killed after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a family visit in Mississippi.” The verse cost Lil Wayne his endorsement deal with PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew.  (David Goldman / Associated Press)
Brad Paisley and LL Cool J | ‘Accidental Racist’ | April 2013
In a collaboration between country singer Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J, the two share the duet “Accidental Racist” off Paisely’s ninth album, “Wheelhouse.” On the track, Paisley says he’s “caught between Southern pride and Southern blame.” LL Cool J sings a verse about ending judgment, juxtaposing a Confederate flag with a do-rag. While the song triggered complaints, it was Paisley’s way of shedding light on an issue still relevant today, he told Entertainment Weekly.  (Associated Press)
Chief Keef | ‘You’ | April 2013
Rapper Chief Keef keeps getting into trouble. On the track “You” he threatens to “kill” women if they don’t satisfy his sexual appetite. The Twitter world ate the verse up. Instagram was the venue earlier when the rapper posted a photo of himself in a sexual act. A little too much, no?  (Mike Rich / RedEye)
Rick Ross | ‘U.O.E.N.O’ | April 2013
A song that never popularly hit the airwaves gained traction when one specific verse spread to the masses. On the track titled “U.O.E.N.O,” Rick Ross delivers a line describing date rape as entertainment. Because of that verse, Reebok dropped the rapper-mogul as a spokesman. He later apologized on a New Orleans radio station, saying, “As far as my camp, hip-hop don’t condone that, the streets don’t condone that, nobody condones that.” (Isaac Brekken / Getty Images )