As Drake worked his way through NYC over the past few days for the media blitz leading into his album release, I noticed a theme in a lot of the questions that interviewers were throwing at him. There wasn't much questioning about Young Money, Wayne or Nicki Minaj. Jay-Z got a few mentions especially while Aubrey was on Angie Martinez's show. But across the board everyone sought to pit Drake up against one guy. Not ASAP, Pusha or Macklemore but the Compton upstart Kendrick Lamar. The man that has recently had hip hop purest in a frenzy. This is what people want to see.
When you look at these two artists I wonder if folk give the "street" edge to Kendrick essentially based on where he is from. On one side you have Compton and on the other you have Toronto. Kendrick calls himself a good kid in a mad city and with a reputation like the one Compton has I guess a good kid is still considered more "real" then the child actor from Ontario. Background stories aside it's hard to argue against a lyrical bout between the two. Drake is truly in a comfortable space and embracing his spot in the current game and Kendrick seem to just keep getting more and more lyrically savage.
The people heard Drake's name mentioned in the "Control" hit list that Kendrick spit and the stage was set. Only thing is that Drake is no fool and clearly has checked the ball back to Kendrick with a little force and wit.
“That verse, he’s giving people moments,” Drake said. “That verse was a moment to talk about. He didn’t come in there on some wild, ‘I’m in New York, f**k everybody.’ I almost wish he had come in there on that sh*t because I kind of lost a little bit of respect for the sentiment of the verse.’ If it’s really ‘f**k everybody’ then it needs to be ‘f**k everybody.’ It can’t just be halfway.”
Drake has legitimate success under his belt that Kendrick is just now starting to sniff. It would seem the West coast MC isn't viewed as being on Drakes level yet. We will see.
The mainstream has stayed as far away from conflict as possible since tension turned fatal over 15 yrs ago, but direct competition cannot be weeded out of Hip Hop no matter how much "Swag Rap" you put out. The media clearly wants as to do the fans and considering that Kendrick's "Control" is losing its bite something has to give. Hopefully it does.
Jason Francis | The Social Media Samurai