New Jersey rap veteran Redman has offered a take on the controversy Kendrick Lamar sparked with his now-infamous “King of New York” line off Big Sean‘s new “Control” track.
Red said even though artists should know Lamar is not really the Empire State’s king, he firmly applauded his verse.
“Man, honestly, I thought it was healthy,” Redman said in an interview when asked about Lamar’s “Control” lyrics. “Everybody know that Kendrick ain’t the king of New York. Kings get [taken] down. Nobody wants to be the king of New York and sh*t, man. Come on. I just think he threw that in there for exercise. I like Kendrick as an artist. He’s witty and he’s smart when he’s spitting his lyrics and he’s crafty. Just like J. Cole and just like Drake, Drake is very crafty, man. I just think the Kendrick Lamar verse was healthy because if it took a f*cking verse from Kendrick Lamar for New York or the East Coast to get back popping and get sh*t going, then hey man, sh*t, maybe we need it. Maybe we needed that. I’m from the 90’s, so you already know what that East Coast and West Coast beef did to us in the 90’s and sh*t.” (Boomshots TV)
Kendrick has since denied wanting to spark a West Coast versus East Coast rivalry from the “Control” bars.
“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)
A few days ago, Brooklyn rapper Fabolous revealed he planned on addressing the proclamation on wax but eventually opted out.
“That’s a hot topic on the market, and when I first heard I was going to address it on the surface of what it was, somebody from out of New York claiming they the “King of New York,” but I took my time and I spoke with some OG’s, I researched it a little bit and got some more history behind it. Also, how everybody jumped into it for an intention play would change the situation as well, so a lot of guys stepped in and said their peace, but you also saw a lot of guys who were mentioned on the song, or who you would expect to have responses to the song, really didn’t take that approach, but am gonna tell you one thing that an OG told me, he said “if you do respond, make it work for you, make it come on your time, and not just like you trying to feed the twitter fans with a freestyle.” So I got that in the back of mind, so you might hear something eventually…” (The Source)
While he immediately killed the perception of Lamar being the king of his city, Harlem’s A$AP Rocky did acknowledge the competitive nature of K. Dot’s lyrics last week.
“He named a lot of n*ggas,” A$AP said in an interview. “I feel like, I mean, that ‘King of New York’ sh*t, you smoking crack, you’re crazy, you know what I mean? Honestly though, K. Dot and them n*ggas, that’s fam. I think hip-hop needs this sh*t. It’s n*ggas who’s pissed off just because they wasn’t mentioned. … I’m not justifiying sh*t, rap is rap, my n*gga. N*gga didn’t say nothing about nobody mother — he didn’t say he want problems. He said, ‘These are my n*ggas and I’m letting y’all know it’s competition.’ What’s the problem? That man know I’m where he at. I feel like all the rappers making disses and responses — I’ma keep it a buck, it’s not even about being relevant because hip-hop ain’t about relevance, man. It’s all about the sport, it’s all about the culture.” (Hot 97)
Earlier the same week, Wu-Tang Clan‘s Raekwon said the only one who could wear the “King of New York” crown is the late Notorious B.I.G.
“All I’ma say is that n*ggas know he ain’t the ‘King of New York’,” Rae said in an interview. “The King of New York, to me, is in the ground and that’s B.I.G. That’s the n*gga that came from the bottom, for real, and really earned that position in the game to be called that. I think son, dude was rhyming, having fun. He was feeling his d*ck, however he was doing it. He was just expressing himself. I think you’re supposed to feel like that on wax.” (Itz Bizkit)
Check out Redman’s interview: