"Hip-Hop" vs. "Rap" © KRS One [A Take On Kendrick Lamar's "Control" Verse]
I looked at the song from the “Hip-Hop” perspective when I initially heard it and Kendrick's verse especially stood out because it was initially recorded with the intent to be released on a major label album where they don't rap like that anymore. In the modern major label Rap game, MCs don't call out their peers anymore so Kendrick benefited from the shock factor as well. He brought the major label rap game back to a place where it used to be, even for only about 3 minutes but it happened nonetheless. On the other hand, in the underground that still happens so it wasn't something that was unheard of or even unprecedented. This brings us to another point, the perception of the individual listener.
If you listen to mostly Rap music that is of the mainstream variety then more than likely this verse was earth shattering and ground breaking as opposed to just extremely dope, like myself due to the fact I regularly hear verses that are comparable to Kendrick's week in and week out. In my opinion, it's comparable to the Ritz Cracker Theory Eddie Murphy first proposed in his Raw stand up act. A starving man is giving a saltine cracker but it tastes like a Ritz because he hasn't eaten in so long. He then raves about how great that cracker was. Since major label rap has the bar set so low an excellent verse instantly sounds like a contender for GOAT status. Meanwhile, there are those that see it for what it was: an excellent rap verse where or when you typically wouldn't expect to hear one.
Furthermore, if you have a wider array of classic Hip-Hop verses to draw from or use as reference or benchmarks you'll either agree that it was a dope verse or you may not be all that impressed at all. If you come from an era where Kool G Rap spit “Poison” (which was considered just one of many incredible tracks back then) then you'd shrug your shoulders and recall when Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, MC Ren, The D.O.C. and more used to regularly drop comparable verses. In this present day major label Rap industry landscape verses that give you the same feeling we experienced regularly back in previous eras are few and far between. All of these things factor into the collective reaction to Kendrick's verse on “Control”.
Hearing everyone's reaction to said bars exposed a few more issues we really need to address amongst Rap writers and Hip-Hop journalists as well. There are those of us that are exposed to a better quality of Rap music due to the fact we routinely cover the underground/indie Hip-Hop scene versus our peers that cover strictly the mainstream side of things.
Since both sides overwhelmingly agree that Kendrick Lamar calling out the names of several of his peers and contemporaries on record in the spirit of competition and raising the bar are they now going to make a concerted effort to write about or feature more rap that's comparable to Kendrick's “Control” verse? In addition, are they willing to hold themselves up to the same standards that Kendrick espoused on the aforementioned track? Will they be adamant that their blogging or journalist peers raise the bar as well or will they turn a blind eye to lackluster blogging and lazy writing/reporting? Not doing so is nothing short of hypocrisy in my personal opinion.
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