West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar has confirmed speculation about chatting it up with rap moguls Jay Z and Diddy in light of the backlash he received from proclaiming himself the ‘King of New York’ on Big Sean‘s “Control” track.
While K. Dot would not get into specifics, he did admit the real kings of New York showed nothing but love when they discussed his bars.
“I mean, that’s classified between me and him,” Lamar said when asked what Jay said about the “King of New York” reference. “But it was all love, all respect. Same way with Diddy and a few other cats. I don’t want to get into all of that but at the end of the day, I feel as though there are certain cats that are going to take it to the next level and make it a rivalry thing. That’s old school homie. Nobody’s trying to do that. We’re black men out here trying to uplift the culture. My first sold-out show was in New York. I always looked at that place as a place that respected my lyrics and respected the culture and the birthplace of it. I think the ones that really took it out of context was the people we know want to grab an opportunity just off the fact of the hype of the record, rapping — a lot of people think it’s about talent. That’s where they get it wrong, I’m saying I’m the most hungry. I respect the legends of the game. I respect people that have done it before me, people that lost their lives over this. Because of what they laid down, I’m going to try to go that much harder and embrace it and live it. That’s the point of the whole verse and what I was trying to convey behind that verse. All the ignorance behind it, kill that noise. It’ll never be like that again, with two coasts rivals. Not on my behalf.” (Hot 97)
Despite the ample name-drops and proclamation of being the king of New York, Lamar admitted the backlash surprised him in an interview yesterday (August 28).
“Honestly I didn’t know there would be so much speculation behind it,” said Kendrick. “I just wanted to rap. Anybody that knows me doing music, I wanna just rap.” He also proclaimed himself the “king of New York,” which rubbed some rappers the wrong way. “I think that’s the case right there of maybe I just dumbed down my lyrics just a little bit,” he said. But he didn’t mean it literally. He had a conversation with some of hip-hop’s elite, who weren’t offended by his verse. “The irony of that line is the people that actually understood it and got it, was the actual kings of New York,” explained K-Dot. “You know, me sitting down with them this past week and them understanding that it’s not about actually being the king of whatever coast. It’s about leaving a mark as great as Biggie, as great as ‘Pac.” (Rap-Up)
This week, “King of the South” T.I. came to Lamar’s defense in light of all the disses.
“I think the climate being as it is, the skill level being as it is, the level of artistry being applied to hit records as it is today, overall, not just for one person, but overall, I think he did what he had to do to get motherf*ckers to wake up and step their sh*t up,” Tip said in an interview. “If you ask someone who is highly skilled but less successful, it would not have worked as well. It takes someone who is highly skilled, to be the most successful and to be daring enough to step out. … Him saying that he was the ‘King of New York,’ that was courageous. [laughs] To go against a whole coast? That was courageous. That was heroic. … He said it and he gonna wear it ’cause right now there is no, well, with the exception of Jay, there is no new artist out right now whose as successful or more than Kendrick from New York. There is no new artist whose record plays more than Kendrick’s record in New York. So arguably, he’s correct.” (VIBE)
Recently, Midwest rap veteran Tech N9ne said he is fully behind Lamar’s movement and would rally for him.
“My reaction was, ‘Yeah n*gga! Wake these motherf*ckers up!’ Everybody’s so lazy, man. I always raise my bar. My bars are always raised, every album. It’s always pushing my peers to go harder when they do a song with me. So for Kendrick to take it a step further, say names and sh*t, it’s really waking n*ggas up. And if anybody got a problem with my lil homie, you know what I’m saying, I got his back. Sorry and sh*t, let’s go.” (Montreality)
Check out Kendrick Lamar’s interview: