August 14, 2013

94Deen is the illegitimate son of DMX.

I’m going to show you muthafuckas a lotta respect and just assume that you’ve all heard the Kendrick verse that shook the world. If you haven’t, stop reading this now, go listen to that shit and re-arrange your priorities.

Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

Done? Good.

Kendrick’s dynamo of a verse, which happens to be both technically impressive and substantively incendiary, lit a fire under folks’ collective asses. I’d suggest this is a good thing, given the stupid ass “Super Friends” nonsense that’s been going in rap for way too long. I know there’s enough for “everybody to eat” and “we should all be united,” but fuck that shit. I want dope rappers to go at each other’s necks and relegate the wacker muthafuckas to the lower billings they deserve. Because deep down inside (pause), I’m still a rap traditionalist. I don’t want to see anyone get shot – unless Kendrick actually mentioned them on that “Control” verse. Competition is not only welcome, it’s been missed.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t register some disappointment at the fact that equally (or more gifted/complete, in my opinion) impressive rappers have been issuing similar challenges to other rappers for a while now, without anyone being brave enough to take the bait. But I suppose that’s what’s supposed to happen when you aren’t anointed by Clear Channel or Interscope or whoever the fuck decides which new niggas get to eat. Yes, that was a nod to my personal favorite: Gangsta Gibbs. Fuck you if you don’t like it.

In predictable fashion, none of the niggas he actually mentioned on the song are likely to respond to Kendrick’s challenge in a timely fashion. At least not with bars. Pusha T already responded with a tweet, but that was probably borne of the confusion that comes with being included in a list of niggas that are all at least a decade younger than him. Other old/young/NYC niggas have taken to the tweets with a variety of responses: Joe Budden talked shit and tried to shame niggas into Kendrick responses and eventually got threatened with lyrical and physical violence by Styles P. Lupe tweeted some silly shit about bars being set low or high; I dunno since I don’t follow that dust head. Big Daddy Kane told niggas to stop gossiping on Twitter and go out do Kendrick. Also, Big Daddy Kane is on twitter – WTF? Talib Kweli used the opportunity to ask if his fellow New York rappers would finally quit the carpetbagging now. Action Bronson… well, I think I’ve made my non-existent point.

I wrote all that to give you muthafuckas some context about what’s going to happen next. A buncha niggas, young and old, good and bad, black and white, legends or not, are going to take Kendrick’s bait and issue responses to his challenge. The problem with that Kendrick is pretty close to bulletproof if you think about it: he has the skills – whether you are a fan or not, that’s clear. He has the sales (platinum and counting). He has the support (Dr. Dre, Interscope and the entire industry). His crew is winning. Everyone wants to work with him (even 50 Cent’s hating ass). So what are people going to say in response. While I’m not the biggest Kendrick fan around, I have to admit that he’s that nigga right now. The choice comes down to him or Drake. And the beige one sings a lot, so I’d rather go with Kendrick.

Another issue is that no one has the time to listen to all these responses and deliver verdicts on each one. Well, that last issue is an issue no more. Because you fucks have me. And I have time. And I have ears. Let’s go:

B.o.B.: This. Nigga. SMH. I don’t even know who gassed this cornball. WTF? Anyway, he immediately dooms himself by employing what we can only refer to as the “Versace/Migos” flow for the first few bars, then he sounds dismissive enough while displaying slightly less annoying technique before ruining the entire thing by doing the “fuck rap” thing and noodling an electric guitar. What a fucking prick. Next.

Joell Ortiz: this is probably the best of the bunch thus far. Simply put, Joell can RAP. But that was never in doubt. The issue is that no one cares and ever will care enough about him for this kind of song to really matter. But yeah, give this one a listen and tell me that Joell isn’t as good an “MC” as Kendrick is. [ed. note: feel free to tell him he’s not].

Fred Da Godson: Great, if predictable title and skit to borrow for this purposee. Fred Da Godson can rap in small doses, but he’s I think he’s physically incapable of rapping with any level of real intensity. The new beat is epic and sufficiently aggressive and so are his bars, but homie needs to do some cardio and try again. Can’t throw your hat in the ring looking and sounding like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This effort is easily going to be one of the top 5 though. Would have been #1 if someone else was rapping the shit.

King Los: This is just a really well done, but random and forgettable verse over the same beat. A perfect display of rapping ass rapping. He’s good though. But his name dropping is way too complimentary and an example of the bullshit that made Kendrick’s verse so refreshing the first place. Get off their collective dicks bro. Pause.

Mickey Factz: A lot of clever wordplay that ensnares Kendrick and his Black Hippy brethren, but between his strained in place of hard delivery and remembering him blinking out “HELP!” in Morse code when he got stuck in in Joe Budden’s trailer while Raekwon and his goons were handing that loudmouth a 2-piece, I can’t take this nigga seriously. Points for the Tupac jab though. I hope someone doesn’t break his glasses.

Lupe: I’m working on an exception here, since I ignore all Lupe music nowadays. A new/shitty beat, but the the flow is a little too nonchalant and spoken wordish in parts. And there are a lotta body blows on this shit and he clearly had fun making it, but he probably could have spent another hour or so honing the shit.

Wale: This nigga responded in an interview. Cook up some bars nigga. It’ll take less time than the daily maintenance on your African school girl haircut. I promise I’ll even listen. Just rap already.

Iman Shumpert: Yeah. This guy. The basketball player. I was just saying that he was a decent rapper since he did justice to the ‘Versace’ beat, but this feels like a step too far for the rookie. He’s got bars though. Like LEGIT bars. Points for an OG beat and defending Phil Jackson, but not enough shots. Ironic, given that Iman is a shooting guard and all. I amuse myself sometimes.

So this is all so far. Hopefully, things get better and some of the actual targets respond in kind. We all owe Kendrick a lot for using his platform in this fashion and this “Control” verse, more than his album, is more of a reason to anoint him a rap god than anything else he’s done in his career. So thanks, Mr. Duckworth.

I’ll be here all week. If it takes any rapper longer to respond, they can keep that shit – unless it’s on a retail album.

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