Last October, Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss sat in an empty locker room after a long Thursday’s practice mumbling raps to himself. Being the music enthusiast that I am, I asked for other opinions on who has the hottest music.
“Did you hear that new Meek Mill?” I asked after Meek Mill released his debut album Dreams and Nightmares in October. Ignoring my question, he responded, “Did you hear that new Kendrick Lamar?”
When you think of Compton, one probably thinks crime and the gang lifestyle that paints the city red or blue. I mean, it was Compton’s N.W.A. who sent shockwaves through the nation in 1988 with its “F*** The Police” record. Even though Compton is within minutes of bright lights in Hollywood, a tourist wouldn’t come to those 10 square miles of hell. Rappers such as The Game, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Eazy E, Lil Eazy E, YG all hail from Compton and their lyrics are either filled with gang experiences, drug trade, poverty or all three. Then, along comes this short, caramel complexioned kid who pens rhymes about everything from empowering his people to having drive down Rosecrans Boulevard to escape gang gunfire.
It was the simple things that were relatable to any young adult that caught listeners’ ears. After catching the ears, Kendrick Lamar explodes with strategic noun and verb placement that reminds you of a younger Eminem, but with more melanin.
When Big Sean released “Control”, Kendrick Lamar penned one minute of utter destruction, and all you could do was gasp. Think about it. When was the last time you paid this much attention to a verse on a track that wasn’t his own song? On the track, Kendrick makes claims that he is the King of New York and the King of the West Coast. You have to understand where is he coming from. For a young kid from Compton to sell out arenas and venues in New York City, all while staying true to himself, is admirable.
If you want to be the best in your craft, you have to have a bit of arrogance about yourself. Jay-Z has 11 albums and most of his raps are about what? His money or himself and that is going pretty well. Kobe Bryant is known by skeptics as one of the most arrogant players in the NBA, but his championship rings look real exquisite when he is out at events with his champion-less comrades.
In the song Kendrick states:
“Bout who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas, Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all new niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved.”
Kendrick places himself in the category with the people he idolized when he was a kid.
“And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale,Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller.”
The most ironic part of the whole situation is the people he claimed were novice, are all rappers who came out around the same time Kendrick did.
Do we crown him now or later?