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Kendrick Lamar, New York and Hip-Hop’s 40th Birthday

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Kool Herc: The Father of Hip-Hop

On August 11, 2013, Hip-Hop Culture, born and bred in the mean streets of New York, turned 40 years old.

On August 12, 2013, Kendrick Lamar lyrically defecated on the whole city with a passionate, lyrical display on Big Sean’s “Control.”

Hip-Hop has always been a fickle beast and still is to this day. The culture is more blood sport than mere music and competition is the cornerstone of it all. Eat or be ate. And that’s a good thing. When Kendrick dropped his bars on “Control” he essentially said, “You guys are my brothers, but step it up. Show me what you got.”

I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you n***as/
Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you n***as/
They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you n***as/
What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high/
Who tryna jump and get it? You better off tryna skydive

Now, which one of the rappers named will respond (J. Cole, Big KRIT, Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electronica, Tyler The Creator, Mac Miller)? Furthermore, New “The Fatherland” York was not left out of the fray. Set to the backdrop of a 40th birthday, the contrast is jarring. What New York rapper will step in and counter Kendrick’s brazen claims of being the King of New York (as well as the West King). Maybe Joe Budden. Perhaps Fabolous. The 26-year-old has Compton resident has demanded that rappers step out out on faith and raise the quality level at its most haughty and at the base “accept this challenge.” Who wants it. In New York’s heyday, there would have been a slew of darts tossed back.

The Golden Era is gone and its not coming back, but if there ever was a substitute, this is it right now. Hip-Hop is no longer separated by regions thanks to the internet. This means there are times when you hear a bit of Andre 3000 or even Eminem in the influences of Kendrick Lamar. This is why A$AP Rocky can be so trill. K-Dot’s major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, proves that he was reared to be great by the likes of Dr. Dre, The Game and others. This is not unlike Large Professor taking Nas under his wing or Big Daddy Kane putting Jay Z on tour. So, there are two sides to this competitive thing called Hip-Hop where the art gets push forward, but you better keep your bars up.

At 40, Hip-Hop music is looking pretty good. Sure, a lot of the “culture” is left on the fringes or with a select few still in tune with more traditional aspects. Then something like this call to arms happens happens and everybody – in synch and unified – remembers what is all about.

Competition.

Being the best.

Iron sharpens iron.

Let us get it on.

I could go on, but I’ll let the legendary Big Daddy Kane have the final word.

Long live Hip-Hop.

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