With his controversial “Control” verse, Kendrick Lamar challenged his rap peers to get better. So it’s ironic that after the fallout from his fiery bars on the Big Sean track, K-Dot now feels like he may have to tone down his complex lyrics.
“It made me go back here and made me feel that I probably need to dumb down my lyrics nowadays, for people to take it way out of context the way they did,” the Top Dawg MC said during an interview with Hot 97 radio personality Peter Rosenberg, which aired on Thursday morning (August 29).
Sean first released the song on August 12, and Lamar finally broke his silence surrounding the verse this week. He not only spoke on calling out his friends J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electronica, Tyler, the Creator and Mac Miller, Dot also addressed his fiery “king of New York” line, which a number of Big Apple MCs took exception to.
“I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York/ King of the coast, one hand, I juggle them both,” Dot spits in his gravelly voice, putting his own spin on a Kurupt lyric from Terrace Martin’s Internet single “Get Bizy.”
“It’s not about the [East and West] coasts, it’s not about what side we’re on,” Lamar clarified, “it’s about being great as Biggie, as ‘Pac — the two cats that I referenced from jump.” The Compton MC made a point to explain that he was referring to Tupac Shakur, who once recorded under the alias Makaveli, and the Notorious B.I.G., who was widely recognized as the king of New York before he died in 1997.
“The irony of it all was the main heads who really understood the context of the line was the actual kings of New York — the cats that I sat down with this past week,” Kendrick said, confirming he had spoken to Jay Z and Diddy about the verse. “I think the ones that really took it out of context are the ones that really wanted to grab an opportunity just off the fact of the hype of the record rather than tuning in an actually listening.”
Lamar said he heard a number of the “Control” responses. Bad Boy MC Los had the best one in his opinion, but he felt no one should take any real offense to his lyrics.
“I really wanted to get on there and just rap and put my best foot forward and really just challenge myself to write some bars. I ain’t think it’d be whatever people think it’s supposed to be,” he said.
He went on to address the rapper friends that he specifically names in the verse: “At the end of the day, when you listen to the line, these are cats that I feel can inspire the game and they aspire to be the best just like I feel. I aspire to be the best. If they’re competitive and they respect the culture of hip-hop, I don’t feel like it should be any type of ill feeling they should have towards it.”