In battle for hip-hop’s throne, Drake no match for Kendrick Lamar

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If 2015 has proved anything in hip hop, it’s that any alleged rivalry between rappers Kendrick Lamar and Drake would end in a decisive victory for “King Kunta.”

Kendrick released a verse on Big Sean’s “Control” song back in 2013 that shook the hip hop world to its core.

In one thunderous verse, the Compton MC crowned himself the next Tupac, claimed to be the king of both the West Coast and New York, personally name-dropped more than 10 MCs that he was trying to beat, including the two with him on the song, and indicted the entire rap game for everything from sloppy lyricism to excessive partying.

Drake offended

Drake, one of the rappers named in the verse, took more offense than others and declared among other things he would no longer work with Kendrick.

The comparisons between the two MCs have been endless since, and the rumors haven’t been helped by Lamar allegedly honing in on Drake during the BET awards cypher.

The first new piece of music Drake put out after control was “0 to 100/The Catch up.”

Like most people, I figured Drake had something to say about Kendrick’s recent claims to the throne, and with a title like “0 to 100” I figured we were in for Drake at his lyrical best.

The song starts with promise as Drake starts off with the lines “F*ck being on some chill sh*t. We go 0 to 100 n*gga real quick” however very quickly it becomes clear this is just another club song with Drake discussing risqué photos on his phone, making more money than most rappers, and his Dad not picking him up when he was a kid amongst other things.

On “The Catch Up” Drake discusses getting dissed without mentioning any names and asserts that Spring 2015 is his and his OVO label’s.

What Drake couldn’t have predicted in his bold claim back in 2014 was Lamar’s release date of March 23, which was kept under wraps until about two weeks before. He also couldn’t have predicted Kendrick’s album ‘To Pimp a Butterfly” leaked exactly 7 days before spring.

Drake released earlier this year a surprise album/mixtape called “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late.” The album broke Spotify records and received mostly positive responses.

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Again, I was intrigued to hear Drake’s latest offering and while “0 to 100” and “The Catch Up” were still entertaining songs, I found the majority of the album to be just plain boring.

Tracks like “6 p.m. in New York” and “You & the 6” offer an interesting break in an album that covers the same theme of Drake and company hanging out in Toronto.

“Butterfly” gaining all the attention

On the other hand, Kendrick’s latest album “To Pimp a Butterfly” has been released to massive praise. gave the album one of the first 5/5 ratings in years, calling it “ambitious in its attempt to inspire a generation to change the world for the better and poignant enough to actually do so.”

The album, which had a bungled debut thanks to being leaked, went on to shatter Drake’s spotify record of 6.8 million streams in one day with more than 9.6 million streams in one day.

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Kendrick’s strength lies in covering important concepts from his own perspective.

The rapper’s first album, “Section 80,” was about his experience as a millennial while “Good Kid M.A.A
.D. City” highlighted his experience growing up in Compton.

And now Kendrick’s latest follows his experience living in the United States as an African-American.

The album is timely with situations like Ferguson and Eric Garner bringing African-American issues to the forefront of the public sphere and includes, among other things, two songs that represent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Malcom X’s responses to Black oppression – “i” and “The Blacker the Berry,” respectively.

These past few releases have easily shown who is releasing the superior product, and its Kendrick Lamar. But I’m willing to admit that the story isn’t quite finished.

Drake still has an official album coming up this year called “Views from the Six,” and it is possible, while unlikely, that this album will blow “To Pimp a Butterfly” out of the water.

Given his track record, I simply cannot believe Drake has a better product than Kendrick, nor do I think he ever will.

by Kon Robinson

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