Who’s in ‘Control?’

A few weeks ago, Kendrick Lamar sent shock waves across social media outlets after the release of Big Sean’s record “Control,” which featured Lamar.

The song received a lot of attention and controversy in lieu of Lamar spewing an array of name drops, which can be labeled as a “diss” in hip-hop culture.

Among the dissed were Big K.R.I.T.; Wale; Pusha T; Meek Millz; A$AP Rocky; Drake; Big Sean; Jay Electronica; Tyler, the Creator; and Mac Miller.

J. Cole was also mentioned. In fact, Lamar begins the name dropping by reciting his birth name, Jermaine Cole, possibly acknowledging him as his greatest competition. The others mentioned in the song were merely being called out, but it is said that those who were not mentioned were the artists who were truly dissed.

Should this verse simply be considered a diss record or were the shots fired aimed at something more meaningful?
About a decade ago, hip-hop was in its golden years, largely credited to a feud between two of the most influential rappers in the world, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Their fame escalated when they were neck-deep in a threatening, violent feud, which officially began with a diss record and sadly resulted in the loss of both their lives.

As listeners, it is only natural that we are influenced by what music we listen to. From an artistic viewpoint, I can say firsthand that many independent artists mold themselves after what is successful in mainstream media.

This could be both good and bad. One positive is that independent artists may take themselves and their work more seriously. They may study the patterns of the industry and subtly imitate mainstream music for their fans.

However, these same artists can try too hard, resulting in pure mimicry and “biting.” I have already come across several remakes of Kendrick’s “diss,” and as I expected, they were terrible.

Overall, the most significant thing that Lamar’s verse did was return the competitive nature back to hip-hop.
After studying his verse, I understand that he name dropped almost every relevant artist in hip-hop. He bruised those who are relevant but unmentioned, basically labeling them irrelevant.

He also shook some life back into the hip-hop culture. I highly doubt this “diss” record will lead to violence because it is not the nature of the majority of artists mentioned. If anything, it will prompt a wave of response records, which, if nothing else, will give the fans something to listen to. I guess that makes Lamar the one in control.