How soon is it really to consider an emcee a Top 20 Emcee All-Time? Is time even one of the biggest factors? Maybe these questions are posed because we want to make sure that people aren’t caught up in the hype of it all. Making sure we all aren’t being prisoners of the moment. The catch twenty two is in being so guarded we sometimes overlook history as it’s happening. What Kendrick has meant to Hip-Hop over the past five years can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked. Kendrick Lamar has been putting out Mixtapes since 2003 which has him in the game for thirteen years. Ok, I get it you haven’t heard Kendrick’s 2003 work. 2003 work aside “Section 80” dropped in 2011 and some would debate that “Section 80” is a Hip-Hop classic. In five years Kendrick has dropped “Section 80”, “good kid m.A.A.d city”, “To Pimp A Butterfly”, and “Untitled Unmastered” all critically acclaimed works and three debatable classic projects.
If we can be all the way real with ourselves for a second it is very hard for us to name twenty emcees that have four projects better than the four Kendrick Lamar projects that have come out over the past five years. How many projects did it take for us to say that Big Daddy Kane was one of the all-time greats? How many projects did it take for us to say that Nas was one of the greats? Many people have Biggie, Big L, & Big Pun in their greatest all-time conversation and they have two albums each. The Notorious B.I.G is considered by many to be a Top 10 Emcee All-Time with a 1994-1997 tenure in the rap game. As it may be true that Biggie was more impactful in four years than anybody we have seen in Hip-Hop it also remains true that Kendrick Lamar’s five year run that we are currently witnessing has been incredibly historical. Kendrick Lamar has delivered mainstream Hip-Hop some of the best albums that it has seen in ten plus years. In Hip-Hop us Hip-Hop Heads always complain that the real lyricist never rise to the top over the rappers with simplistic BARS. Well, it is happening right now with Kendrick and it’s important for us to acknowledge his greatness while it’s happening and not wait for Kendrick to be on the decline before we give him props for the great work he is currently presenting.
From the epic television performances to the many awards Kendrick has received over these past five years Hip-Hop fans that praise lyrics should be rejoicing. I know that simply being honest and giving Kendrick the credit he is due for the great work he has put forth for some may come across as “dick riding” for lack of a better term. I’ve heard everything from “not yet” to “he is rapping in a weak era” when conversing the possibility of Kendrick Lamar being a Top 20 Emcee All-Time with Hip-Hop Heads. The whole idea of “Kendrick shining in a weak era” just doesn’t hold up. Regardless of the era “good kid m.A.A.d” and “To Pimp A Butterfly” are incredible albums. These two efforts would have made major noise in any era they would have come out in. Like it or not Kendrick Lamar has undoubtedly the most talked about rap verse of his generation. Yes of course we are talking about the infamous “Control” verse that not only stopped the Hip-Hop world but the entertainment world dead in it’s tracks. The “Control” verse not added pressure to the rappers that Kendrick mentioned in the verse but it also lit the fire under emcee that Kendrick neglected to mention. In today’s social media era we have not seen a single verse stop the world in quite that fashion. The only thing that we haven’t seen Kendrick do so far is demolish an emcee in a battle. It’s not like he hasn’t been asking for a battle. Anyone from the “Control” could have taken the opportunity to come at Kendrick full force but it didn’t happen. Only time will tell where Kendrick’s career goes from here but if we are being fair and balanced it’s only right to consider the notion that Kendrick Lamar quite possibly may be a Top 20 Emcee All-Time already. Just a thought.