Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar set (a certain segment of) the Internet on fire on Monday upon the release of the song "Control," on New York radio station Hot 97's "The Funk Flex Show." While the song will appear on top-billed artist Big Sean's forthcoming record and also featured an appearance by critically acclaimed (if commercially quiet) rapper Jay Electronica, the record clearly belongs to the 26-year-old Lamar, who raised more than a few eyebrows by putting himself in the "greatest rappers ever" conversation alongside the likes of Jay Z, Nas, Eminem and OutKast's Andre 3000, saying he wanted to lyrically "murder" a slew of popular contemporary artists by outperforming them to the point where fans have no interest in listening to any of them, and proclaiming himself "the king of New York" despite hailing from Compton, Calif.
Lamar's verse, name-dropping and bicoastal boasting — and the attendant fallout — caught the attention of loads of interested observers, including legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson, who responded to being name-checked by Lamar in the song ("If Phil Jackson came back, still no coaching me / I’m uncoachable, I’m unsociable") by emphasizing how important it is for even the cocky to have someone to turn to even ("Let's just call it mentoring"). It also caught the notice of New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who — as we discussed Tuesday in a story that still seems sort of like a joke but is quite real — raps a bit himself:
In response to Kendrick verse...he is my fav rapper. He can say what he wants. He is the BEST out. But ill still dunk his ass #crown
— Iman Shumpert (@I_Am_Iman) August 13, 2013
Just saying he'd dunk on Kendrick apparently wasn't enough, though, because several hours later, Shumpert shared a full-fledged response called "Dear Kendrick." There's some (though not much) not-suitable-for-work language in the clip below, so buyer beware:
A few thoughts on this:
• "K-Dot, shout out to you for this, kid" — Considering an awful lot of the uproar over Kendrick's verse surrounds his willingness to tell his friends that he wants to "murder" them on the track, starting off by giving him a shoutout doesn't seem like the strongest possible opening line, right?
• Similarly, "It's about time people know that I existed" is sort of an underwhelming way to make a claim for the throne.
• Any song that reminds you about that cool Kevin Johnson dunk is OK in my book. I'd suggest Shump start calling himself the Mayor, but that'd probably spark beef with not only K.J., but also Fred Hoiberg and Michael Bloomberg. Probably not worth it with the season just around the corner. (Also, should multiple instances of beef be called "beeves?")
• Nice Mr. Freeze reference.
• Shump clearly sees the value in coaching, as detailed in his discussion of his relationship with Mike Woodson: "Woody is approachable / He see the goon I'm turning to / He scouted and he circled you / [I'm] locking you like valuables at hotels." Nice to see that, even when doing some evening rapping, Iman's still focused on being the Knicks' defensive stopper on the wing!
• And now we come to Shump defending the city's honor: "And [Woodson, apparently] say, as a Knick, don't let you say that / you the king of New York / 'cause 007 don't play that / That's the big homie." I guess guys call Carmelo Anthony "007?" Good to know. Maybe in two years, his role will be played by a new actor, too. (Also, Shump deciding to respond to Kendrick saying he's the king of New York so that he can assert that 'Melo is the king of New York seems like taking that whole "good teammate" thing to a whole new level.)
• "I hope the Knicks spend on me / so I can keep the same jersey I came in with." Oh, man. I hope the Knicks spend on Shumpert, too, especially if a full offseason of healthy work after spending last season rehabbing his torn left ACL results in the 23-year-old swingman taking a big step forward next season. But considering the Knicks can't extend his deal until after the 2014-15 season and he can't hit restricted free agency until 2015-16, can we table the contract talks for a little while? For now, let's stay focused on the truly critical matter at hand — offering competent-enough-while-not-threatening-Kendrick-in-the-least responses to "Control" that are sure to make your coach and the First Lady proud.