The hip-hop world is still reeling from Kendrick Lamar‘s scorched-earth verse in “Control,” with bloggers and fans alike tweeting about and analyzing K-Dot’s challenge to other MCs (check out Complex‘s excellent piece about What It All Means). But it’s the reactions from other rappers that we’re really intrigued by, since they were the ones K-Dot came for as he tried to ignite a competitive surge based on some halcyon memory of the old days that may or may not have actually existed — when rap battles were more important than congratulatory, “3 Kings”-style, LeBron-teaming-up-with-his-rivals posse cuts.
So did it work? Thus far, responses have run the gamut — from guys who weren’t named in the song taking the McKayla Maroney pose (my next reference will be more timely!), to veteran MCs taking the challenge in stride, to quick-turnaround response tracks and, in the case of Lupe Fiasco, spot-on parodies of hip-hop’s biggest names.
We’re going to comb through the most notable rapper reactions (plus an absolutely absurd one from Lindsay Lohan‘s derelict father Michael, just because), and we may as well start with Big Sean since, technically, “Control” is his song.
“I wanted to [release the song] for the culture of hip-hop as opposed to myself,” the Detroit MC told Vibe. “It’s hip-hop. It’s a sport. It should get back to being competitive[...] I knew what it was going to do for hip-hop. I knew what it was going to do for the culture. This is the most exciting rap song to drop this year this year. Period.” Outside of Yeezus, the only other hip-hop song I’ve found as thrilling in the past 12 months has probably been A$AP Rocky‘s ”1 Train,” so I essentially agree with him on that claim.
Before Big Sean’s explanation, though, the Twitter reactions came in fast. The most important ones, I suppose, are those from guys who were called out in the song, but there have only been a few such responses from The Named:
I hear u loud and clear my nigga… @kendricklamar
— PUSHA T (@PUSHA_T) August 13, 2013
“This is Gladiator Shit”…Gotta give the people what they want . — Big K.R.I.T. (@BIGKRIT) August 13, 2013
If I can’t do no more nouns or verbs ima start comin with the wildest adjective bars that anyone has ever heard. — Mac. (@MacMiller) August 13, 2013