Speaking to Peter Rosenberg on New York’s Hot 97 Thursday morning, Lamar said he was surprised by the reaction to the verse, especially since it “was really just a feature verse.” In fact, Lamar said he was in the UK during the time of the song’s release and wasn’t aware of the Internet reaction until a few days later.
Lamar said he had no motives for his verse other than “I really wanted to just get on there and rap. I really just wanted to challenge myself to rap some bars.”
Rosenberg asked Lamar if any of the rappers namechecked in the song reached out to him in the days following its release, and if he was worried it’d affect relationships. Lamar replied, “I didn’t hear from nobody. I wasn’t worried it’d affect relationships. At the end of the day, these are cats who I felt could inspire the game. You know, if they’re competitive and respect the culture of hip-hop, I don’t feel there should be any type of ill feel.”
He went on to say:
“It’s rap, man. People know I respect them… The whole point of the culture is to elevate the culture… I think the people who really took it out of context were the people who wanna make opportunity off the hype of the record rather than tuning in and listening.
“The ignorance behind it, you can kill that noise. It will never be like that again where two coasts rival. Not on my behalf, not while I’m doing this. I think the OGs in the game want that competitive nature but with no bloodshed. I’m way too wise, too polished to get caught up in the hype of the media. What I am scared of is cats who are not that polished who get caught up on their Twitter responses and what their homies are saying.”
Kendrick also spoke to Rosenberg about his favorite response verses. You can listen to the full interview below.
In a separate interview with Los Angeles’ Power 106, Kendrick specifically addressed the reaction to his King of New York” lyric: “I think that’s a case where I maybe had to dumb down my lyrics just a little bit,” he explained. “The irony of that line is that the people that actually understood it and got it was the actual kings of New York. We’ve been down with them this past week, and them understanding that it’s not about actually being the King of whatever coast, it’s about leaving the mark as great as Biggie, as great as Pac.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Complex, producer No I.D. revealed that “Control” was originally intended for Jay Z, and that the song came together after he encouraged Big Sean to record “some straight, hardcore hip-hop records.”
No I.D. added that while Big Sean did not rewrite his own verse after hearing’s Kendrick, he did end up re-rapping it.
Listen to “Control” below.