August 12, 2020

Kendrick Lamar's "Control" Verse (August 12, 2013)

August 12, 2013: Coming off good kid, m.A.A.d city, one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the decade, rapper Kendrick Lamar could have rested on his laurels. Instead he stole the spotlight on Big Sean's 2013 single "Control," going bonkers with wordplay for almost three minutes and calling out 11 emerging rappers by name. More than a dozen response songs turned up and Billboard reported that Lamar gained more than 200,000 Twitter followers in the track's wake. Here's nine ways that this verse changed the game. While "Control" was serviced to radio stations, it didn't appear on Big Sean's Hall of Fame album, nor was it sold on iTunes or Amazon as a standalone track, nor was it given away as a free download. The official explanation is that No I.D.'s unauthorized sample usage precluded its sale, including Jay Z's "Where I'm From", Terrace Martin's "Get Bizy" and Seventies Chilean folk band Quilapayún's "El Pueblo Unido Jamas San Vencido." It's surprising that the biggest music conglomerate in the world didn't clear those samples for the most-talked about rap song of 2013. But perhaps that was the problem: "Control" arguably overshadowed Big Sean's Hall of Fame, a critical and commercial disappointment that only yielded a modest Top 40 hit in "Beware." ... "Control" inspired responses from B.o.B, Joell Ortiz, Lupe Fiasco, Joey Bada$$, Joe Budden, Meek Mill and many, many others. More than being the "Roxanne, Roxanne" of the new millennium, the subtext is that rappers responded to Lamar with actual songs and freestyles. Twitter rants, YouTube threats and random keyboard dissing no longer sufficed. - Rolling Stone (3/11/15).

In addition to all of the popular responses, there was the Juggaknots' Breeze Brewin - a favorite MC of mine - who slipped one under the radar. Bars like "...But this brother been thunderous, shit is a shame / I'm watching as the other than the under the bus they ain't giving props to / The negative get the focus, dude is better than that / He forever with hella quotes, a future veteran champ / But the disrespect to the meccas, come on fella relax / Shit is simple, expected better, I'm just telling you flat / See I ain't running up on you, I ain't trying to murder your vibe / In Terminal 5, it was me my son and my daughter / Was major when Section 80 was previous to the hoopla / I'm saying wrecking it crazy, I'll give it up to this dude, bars..." Ironically, at the same time as "Control" dropped, my artist Eternia had unknowingly released a song herself that day, amidst the internet going ablaze with commentary about Kendrick, and her song was a 'Tribute to Kendrick' as she flipped his "Hiii Power" single. Fortunately some publications still supported it, but needless to say, releasing music on the same day as "Control" was a case of bad timing at its worst, lol. "I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you n!@@as..." Revisit the track, which was released on this day in 2013 above, as well as Breeze's response below, and apologies if the lyrics to Breeze's verse are incorrect, after all the pic of Breeze on Genius is actually J-Zone and still no one has fixed it!