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“While Everyone Watched The Throne, Kendrick Lamar Sat In It.”

“While Everyone Watched The Throne, Kendrick Lamar Sat In It And Called Himself King”

Once upon a time, hip hop wasn’t so emotional. The art of emceeing was a sport where rappers challenged one another to one up every punchline and metaphor. It wasn’t necessarily about who had the most money, the most women or the biggest movement. Things have changed over the years where the rap game has become a crowded room full of emcees attempting to salvage relationships in an effort to use an associate’s star power like a trampoline to catapult them to a level above being just an internet rapper.

Back then, an emcee represented their city and would thumb their nose at anyone who tried to say slander their stomping grounds. These days, it becomes difficult to tell where an emcee is from. The distinctive sounds that bellowed from a particular region has now become muddled in a pool of surfers trying to ride the wave of what’s hot. But what’s not hot is that many rappers lost their passion and forgot that the rap game is a sport where competition can only help, not hinder. Getting your card pulled for being a fraud, wack or otherwise elicited a response on wax. If you couldn’t hold your own in the booth, you would be buried by the public. These days, all it takes is for a rapper to hang on to a lie or do a bunch of interviews where they explain how they are better in every facet of the game, except the part that matters: rhyming.

The game forgot what it was until Kendrick Lamar sent a reminder that being the best isn’t based on what list an internet site posts. His eyebrow raising verse on Big Sean’s “Control” sent the message that #1 spot isn’t handed out. The throne belongs to the king that is willing to take it. Lamar planted his flag and is daring any emcee to come for the crown that he claimed. Friends or foes, it doesn’t matter. According to the Compton emcee, you can save all the bromance for the aftermath after the final buzzer sounds, but if you dare set foot on this court, protect your neck.
That verse was the shot of adrenaline the game needed. It was a reminder that to be the greatest rapper of all time, you actually have to be able to rap. It means that you can’t put bars together arbitrarily and be saved by some exceptional production and a catchy hook. It doesn’t matter how many strippers shake their ass to your song or who you collaborated with. It’s about rapping.

It’s been a long time since a rapper claimed to be a rapper rather than a hustler who just happens to rap. Kendrick Lamar is a rapper and his throwing down of the gauntlet has forced every emcee who has considered themselves as great to lock themselves into the studio and pen the illest verse they have ever written.
And don’t think that Lamar’s claim that: “I’m Makaveli’s offspring/ I’m the King of New York/ King of the coasts/ One hand, I juggle them both” was by accident. Aside from Jay-Z (who has become bigger than the game itself), you’ll be hard pressed to find an emcee from the Mecca of Hip Hop that was universally recognized as the best in the game. MTV’s “Hottest MC in the Game” list has been around since 2007 and the lack of New York representatives is alarming. Let’s be clear, that list is far from the end all, be all, but it does provide a some insight on where NY stands. Nas and A$AP Rocky were the lone representatives on 2012’s list; 2011 and 2010 featured Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z; 2009 had four NY emcees with Raekwon, Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Fabolous; 2008 saw Jay-Z and 50 Cent on the list and 2007 had Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Jim Jones.

Obviously, the rap game has evolved and stretched to multiple regions but the fact remains that New York has lost the hop in its step it once had. It was reminded of this when Snoop knocked over the towers over a decade ago and Kendrick Lamar did it again in 2013. It takes a bold emcee to shake a hornet’s nest of talent, but Lamar was just that bold. And the reality is that if you believe that you’re the best but afraid to proclaim it, what use are you to the game? Competition makes you keep your sword sharp because you never know who might come to take the throne.

In a game that has become stagnant when it comes to competition, Kendrick Lamar planted his flag and dared every emcee to come at him.

If you are offended by his proclamation, don’t bitch and moan on social media, get your ass in the studio and one up him. Michael Jordan didn’t ask for the crown, he took it. Muhammad Ali didn’t beg for you to call him “The Greatest,” he called himself that and backed up every word. If you got butt hurt by his statements, come and prove him wrong. That’s what kept the game fresh and that’s what Kendrick Lamar wants and that’s exactly what the game needs.
May the best man (or woman) win.

  • Dubz

    Great article, that is exactly what I hope happens. We, as fans, have all complained about the lack of good music. Hopefully this forces everybody to step their game up on a consistent basis

  • Tjzoo

    “2007 had Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Common”… Common is from Chicago, i dont think he can represent NY.

    • Schooly B

      As a Chicago representative I agree and was offended by the suggestion that the midwest was not a region unto itself. The arrogance of these NY cats, everyone bet on Pap and lost now they tryin to steal ninjas lol

      • dcrapgod

        common is better than kendrick

      • Schooly B


    • scullyson

      Same thing I was thinking…smh…Common from Chi-town

    • Casor_G

      Then they changed it to Jim Jones. All Hip-Hop doesn’t even know Hip Hop

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  • pauleyPee

    …………….. I actually thought Big Sean’s verse was slightly better.

    • JEDI

      hmmmm erase this comment now !!!!

    • vandyll

      Omg that was the saddest comment on here yet. Big Sean’s verse was an abomination total disgrace. He should be dragged into the lyrical lions den n slaughtered. Typical radio rap bars pure trash

      • dcrapgod

        big sean is whack

  • Well said!!

  • TruthHurts

    I still don’t understand why everybody thinks Kendrick is so “lyrical”. He blew up off a bootie/liquor/party song just like 90% of these other rappers when he did Swimming Pools. He even slowed that hook so he can get love in the South. I know a WHOLE lot of emcees on the West Coast that’ll eat this kid alive. Matter fact I know emcees in the North/East and South who will eat this kid alive. He musta done started drinking again or something….

    • Tjzoo

      A) He did not blew up with Swimming Pools, Probably that’s when YOU heard of him.
      B) You obviously didn’t listen to the lyrics

      • Nate-than

        Kendrick is not in the lyrical top 10. Anyone who disagrees has a low standard or different definition of lyricism, and thats a cold hard fact. He is more lyrical than 99% of what you hear on the radio, yes. Most people mistake Kendrick’s depth and creativity for lyricism when it is simply, well, depth and creativity.

        Wax, Team Backpack, Palmer Squares are just some that are more lyrical than Kendrick (by far). 3, 4, 5, 6 syllable rhyme schemes and crazy vocabulary strung together nicely. That is lyricism in my opinion (and it overlaps into technicality).

      • TruthHurts

        Smartest reply to a comment I’ve seen in a while. This is exactly my point.

      • BuckDat

        It doesnt matter how many words or syllables you can rhyme together, if it doesnt make sense then whats the point?

      • Nate-than

        “Crazy vocabulary” and “strung together nicely” meaning it does make sense.

      • TruthHurts

        I heard of him well before that… but if you don’t think that’s when the mainstream first heard of him, you’re mistaken. Hence why I said that’s when he “blew up”, not that’s when he “started rapping”. Secondly if you think Kendrick is a lyrical rapper, you must have a low standard of what lyricism is.

  • Global_Mission

    Great read but you put Common as one of the NY rappers..LOL

  • speedy37

    Fck this retarded writer and Kendrick lamar .

  • Billy

    That is what the game needs.

  • Billy

    You have great Rappers like Papoose, Cormega, and Joell Ortiz that represent lyrically. I can’t listen to the shit they play on NY Radio. The same bullshit all day.

    • BuckDat

      Papoose Pap-oose, you lost all validity by mentioning that dude

  • Matt Swan

    I agree with this, but like I said before K Dot is hot now. Give him a second to make the follow up album and lets see where the “king” really resides. But for someone to use Mtv as a baseline for Hip Hop is wrong on many levels. Mtv looks out for those in the “correct” demographic that think an artist is hot. I’m sure Mtv did not come around you way nor mine and ask us who we thought were the hottest of the year was and why….we’re not in the “correct” demographic and most don’t listen to Miley Cyrus or care. When I think of a MC, I think of the old greats, and some (VERY FEW) of the current breed of rappers, but for those that claim to be the “king of the south, west, north or whatever” y’all stick to rappin about traps and snow. I’ll listen to the dude with the catchy wit, who can take a 12 syllable word and make it work, who doesn’t use a blackberry to help memorize his raps, and has no reason to lie about who and what he is, because he’s already known and respected.

    • Romanov1010

      Yo Kendrick is not hot now, he always been as dope as he’s now, yall just catching up now, go listen to Kendrick Lamar EP, Overly Dedicated & Section 80 and thank me later

      • Matt Swan

        Ok 50 was burning up the airwaves BEFORE he dropped his “debut” lp, which was actually his second lp. But when it came out folks were dropping praises like NY is back, dude is killing careers, and so on. His second lp was straight certified Tupperware. Few good ones, but nothing like the first. Ye was also hot before he dropped, and his first was deadly. Ye ate up what the press gave him, and here we are almost 10 years later and not one of him lp’s have come close to the first even they all have had success. Nikki, Rhinna, Drake, there are so many, but bottom line, let the artist breathe in the success he’s gotten, and wait till the second lp drops and then we’ll know that he’s more than a one hit wonder. TI gave himself the “king of the south” but he’s not the king of sh*t. Let K earn the title on his own through deeds and hits and he’ll be remembered as the “king”.

      • jondoe

        when tip said he was the king he was the king, at that point in time….just like wayne, wayne might be trippin now, but around 06-07 when he said he was the best rapper alive, at that time, he actually was

      • Matt Swan

        TI is the “king” of portapotties. Jordan never said he was the king or the greatest; his play spoke for him. If you have to tell others you’re the king, then really you’re not and everyone knows it. Wayne was never the best. Sure he had hit songs, but at any time in his career, he could’ve been ether’d easily by a true MC. BDK can destroy damn near all of todays rappers with no problem. MC vs Rapper>>>>MC always wins

      • jondoe

        who is bdk? & we not talkin about sports we talkin about hip hop. Every rapper who ppl claimed to be the best has once said they were the best themselves from biggie to big daddy kane to jayz they all claimed to be the best rapper at one point in time. & your MC vs Rapper statement is irrelevant I didn’t say wayne said he was the best MC, i said wayne was the best rapper, & to me a great rapper is one who can craft a good song & actually rap good too, a MC can only rap real good maybe twice as good as a rapper but shidthe difference between a good MC & a good rapper is like shaq vs. olajuwon…One is better than the other but that don’t mean they both can’t be great

      • Matt Swan

        Kane and the analogy stills stands and is quite relevant. Biggie was damn good, but puff made him the “king” through his marketing after he died. Pun was great, but not many know it, because when you think of NY, Biggie comes to mind. Wayne isn’t and will never be a MC of any kind, any day. And when you dissect quite a few of his rhymes, they really don’t make sense, but the beat carries him. A MC will never be forgotten, a MC can rock without a ton of production or others on his song, a MC isn’t a moniker you just come out with, it’s earned and given to you by your peers, and public alike. That’s why many southern rappers will never know what’s it like to be a MC. Many are good from down there, but 20 years from now, we won’t know who they are, and that’s not just a southern thing, it’s across the board. You can still play gin n juice, microphone fiend, big poppa, the bridge is over, one mic, and peoples heads will still nod, and that includes the younger generation. Rappers are a flash in the pan, MC’s are revered.

      • Matt Swan

        This is for your post that wasn’t posted: Well this is where we’d have to agree to disagree. Shame your post wasn’t put up over some moderation ish. You have points in there, but we just don’t see eye to eye.

      • jondoe

        i don’t even remember what i said i can’t see it so i can no longer argue my point

      • jondoe

        he means hot as in his fanbase grew & he has hits now…he had no hits on those cd’s before good kidd maad city

  • Listen to Joell Ortiz response diss: DefSideMixtapes(dot)com

    • TruthHurts

      i definitely think of dudes like Joell, Crooked I, Em, etc. when I think of lyrical WAY before I think of Kendrick. I honestly think this dude made a huge mistake calling folks out, and he’s bout to get destroyed. Could be career-ending if the right cats go at him.

      • BuckDat

        yeah, cause Joell definatly has the ability to end careers

      • Bless Graphics

        He might be able to end careers but he’s not too good at jumpstarting his.

      • vandyll

        I find it so funny that people think Joel or anybody in slaughter is not successful. Think about it what defines success? See the problem is people have allowed these rappers with these fantasy raps about money n nonsense dictate their thought process. Let’s take Joel for example. Now of course he doesn’t have Jay z or eminem money. But he does has a very nice recently purchased place. He has a nice car, n in his own words he’s finally able to take care of his mom. All of that from spitting bars he don’t get up on any day n punch a clock to go to work. He’s able to make a better than decent living doing what he loves. But because these lame rappers tell you if you ain’t got a Bentley or a mansion you ain’t shit, common niggas will label Joel as not having a career. Really? That man is doing what he loves n earning a great living. So what he ain’t making 1 million a year. What if he making 250k? That’s not good? I know people holding degrees not making that. So what’s really real. Stop being blinded by these foolish niggas dangling jewelry n bitches in your face. That is not a true mark of success. Getting up n doing what you love and able to make a living at it is success. Many people on here with they lame as mix tapes would trade places with Joel in A NY minute. And that is the truth

      • Darren Myt Collins

        I approve this message, cats need to realize all these dudes claiming they got millions and all these cars be telling tales anyway. They claim they millionaires but really be thousandaires. If you can make 75,000 a year off music…that is succesful to me, thats a comftorbale living!

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  • main0

    Good article… good responses so far, but I only want to hear responses from J cole and drake since them 3 will be the future of hip hop and may one day be considered being one of the greats

  • tqthetrojan

    PREACH. Chuuuch!

    Niggas need to get back to rappin’… Period. We like rap. Thaz how this shit started…

    I’m ready for round 3. I got my popcorn too.

    • You know whats funny? NYC cats are more worried about who said they are the king more than they are worried about bringing the mecca of hip hop back to its prominence!

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  • It’s about time a rapper call out his contemporaries in this day and age. Rap got soft for a minute and this verse was like a revival. Hip hop lost that competitive edge that really birthed great emcees. Hopefully it’ll go back to that. With Kendrick’s verse out right now, niggas need to rise to the occasion. Some already did and Joell Ortiz’s verse merked Kendrick’s verse… all in the name of competition.

  • Saiyan Prince

    Well said.

  • Obi Won

    Everyone is in their feelings and should be anyone that considers themselves an artist. Whether he said ur name or not. Point being everyone has to go back to the jungle at least for a lil while. Where ever these artist started its time to go back home for minute.

  • stinkmeaner1906

    I bet Kanye is somewhere kicking and screaming talking about “But I said I was the best first!!”

    • vandyll

      Kanye ain’t saying nothing of the sort. He lets his ghost writer do the talking. Smh at that dress wearing cry baby ass Cornball

  • Marc Anthony Robles

    He Paul Revered this shit, alerted the whole world what was about to happen.

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  • bs_hater1

    I respect what Kendrick is trying to do. Whether he’s the best emcee or not is really not the main point. The main issue is he used his platform to make lyricism a talking point again (especially among the younger fans), which is something old heads like myself haven’t been able to do (without being labeled haters). Alot of niggas hated on lyricism because they know if this shit becomes talent based again, that they ass would be unemployed. This shit is supposed to be ART, not an every-man’s sport like a local pick up game. Without lyricism hip-hop lost its REAL value. That’s how we ended up with too many (so-called) artist and this shallow ass talent pool of lames thats taken this shit over……..

    • Hit the nail on the head.

    • Darren Myt Collins

      I approve this message

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  • dcrapgod

    K Dot is so overrated he has a very long way to go they set him up for failure yea he made a great attempt to change the game but none of the people he called out responded and they most likely wont because dropping something weak will make them look bad but at the same time he has made himself a target because he also open the gates for any artist thats trying to make a name for themselves to do so at his expense

    • Tavaris M Johnson

      Agreed he’s not what they hype him up to be. Honestly even though he had the best verse on the song….would you call him better than Jay Electronica honestly? He said a bunch of names and everybody is in an uproar. This shows how out of touch with hip hop we have become!!! There are labels not any more crews…people focus on money wayyyy more than being the best. They lost the since of Art in the whole thing…….Kendricks verse is really overrated but I’m glad he did drop it because it opened up eyes….

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  • Darren Myt Collins

    The thing these rappers need to realize is that , ITS GOING TO TAKE ALBUMS AND BODY OF WORK, not diss verses, that will crown you king. Most of these cats comming back at Kendrick don’t have not critically acclaimed ALBUMS to back up there diss tracks. At least kendrick has one, and it has gone platinum. And he has critically acclaimed mixtapes and ep’s. ONE MORE TIME ITS GOING TO TAKE A BODY OF WORK. Cassidy, Papoose and the rest need to stop worrying about responding to kendrick, respond with a DOPE ALBUM, that got dope beats AND lyrics and concepts, then you plant your flag

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