Hip-Hop culture just celebrated it’s 40th anniversary earlier this week and shortly afterwards an interesting event happened that highlighted the disconnect between Rap listeners, Hip-Hop fans and its individual contributors & participants. There are those that are too young to remember when verses like Kendrick Lamar’s on Big Sean’s “Control” were a common occurrence and there was so much quality competition at the major label level that fans and critics alike declared it a golden era.
Based on our individual experiences with Hip-Hop culture and Rap we perceive what happened and the subsequent fallout from Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse differently. Essentially it falls into the realm of Hip-Hop vs. Rap.
Let’s discuss the song itself first, “Control” suffered from sample clearance issues which may or may not have been Big Sean’s fault. On said song Sean opens with a strong effort but Kendrick Lamar overshines on him to the point that you would consider never letting anyone ever hear the track. Jay Electronica added an extra verse but in comparison to what Kendrick had previously laid down it wouldn’t garner anywhere near the same attention from listeners. So there Big Sean was. He had a decision to make and he thought he’d take the “Hip-Hop” approach to leak the track rather than the “Rap” one and suppress it. Let me explain what I mean by that.
The “Hip-Hop” line of thinking is to stick with your verse and take the L because Kendrick’s verse was epic and everyone needs to hear it regardless of the fact you got murdered on your own sh-t. The “Rap” school of thought is that Big Sean’s Hall Of Fame album drops in two weeks and this doesn’t help him sell more records or raise anticipation for his project in any way, shape or form. If anything, it makes it seem like even when he brings his A game he can’t hang with Kendrick Lamar. It also makes heads wonder if he got bodied that badly and it’s his song then why’d he release it? The current level of competition in major label rap is pretty low to begin with and being on the low part of the G.O.O.D. Music totem pole doesn’t help him with fans of lyricism. That would mean the leak would backfire on him but elevate Kendrick.
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