Well, that's one way to take "Control." Kendrick Lamar put the hip hop world on notice this week when he anointed himself the "King of New York" and then proceeded to trash his competition in a provocative verse for Big Sean's new track, "Control."
"I'm Machiavelli's offspring / I'm the King of New York / King of the coast / One hand I juggle them both," the 26-year-old Compton, Calif., native raps on the song, originally intended for Big Sean's upcoming Hall of Fame album.
Lamar's verse goes on to name-check some of hip hop's biggest names: "I'm usually homeboys with the same n----s I'm rhymin with / But this is hip-hop and them n----s should know what time it is / And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, Mac Miller."
"I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you n----s / Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n----s / They don't wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n----s," he rhymes. "What is competition? / I'm tryna set the bar high."
The previously unreleased song -- which also features a verse by Jay Electronica, one of the rappers named by Lamar -- dropped on Monday, Aug. 12, and promptly ignited a flurry of tweets from Lamar's fans and fellow rappers. The reactions are varied, of course, but a surprising number of them are positive.
"I hear u loud and clear my n----," Pusha T tweeted to Lamar shortly after the song's release.
"Rap, hip hop has always been mad competitive," Big K.R.I.T. added in an interview with Hip Hop DX on Tuesday, Aug. 13. "It's a competitive sport; it's a gladiator sport...I was like, 'Hell yeah.' Thank you for the shout out and shout out to all the fans that he may have that didn't know about my music and now they gon' go back and listen to records and check out '1 Train,' and want to know why he felt the need to mention my name...It's all good, man. It's all within the sport."
Indeed, many rappers seem to have taken Lamar's boastful spiel as a challenge to step up their game. "If Larry Bird and Magic [Johnson] never challenged each other, the game wouldn't have made the strides that it did. Same with music," Revolt TV wrote in a tweet that was retweeted by Sean "Diddy" Combs. "Hip hop was born out of competition and raised by battles. This is what music needs."