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Kendrick Lamar, Memes, and the State of Hip Hop
by Bigg Shizz (Follow Me Promotions)
I woke up this morning and had no idea what happened in hip hop last night. I’m a Kendrick Lamar fan, I know “Control” wasn’t the first time he told the world that he was the best. I know that this is just another chapter in hip hops long list of beefs/name-calling/call to arms. I still have rappers that I respect more than him, but there’s no denying the moment. When I first heard the track I figured Kendrick would create shockwaves in our instant media world with his comments, but I had no idea a verse could create something of this magnitude.
Like millions of other fans I’m tired of tolerating features for the sake of radio spins and some hype (seriously Drake, the Versace remix?). I’m tired of trap anthems with no substance and the same flows. I’m tired of beefs that end with a handshake and collaboration track. Rap got lazy and everyone knows it. The problem is that we accept it for the allure of the money and the fact that ignorance can still be entertaining. So with this single verse, Kendrick Lamar demanded rappers, the fans, and the industry as a whole to take notice. Even if you didn’t like the track and thought it was disrespectful you had to appreciate the fact that someone was trying to preserve the legacy of the mecca of hip hop. The message that as fans of the music we shouldn’t have to settle and that our current idols have been sluggish for years now is something we should all agree on. It was a chance to start up conversations and get back to debating about who’s really the best. I think my friend Tony Smif described the size of this moment better than anyone when he said that Kendrick was able to do more than Jay-Z without a commercial or a Samsung deal. He simply put out good music and the people gravitated towards it for better or worse.
And that is really the point of this article. More than anything I wanted to look at how a verse becomes so viral without a radio spin or a video. We can talk about the impact of the verse at length, but the instant response of the community is really what interests me. The reason is because memes and tweets make our digital world go round. With the creation of image sharing programs like Instagram and the integrated nature of social media, it doesn’t take long for something funny or controversial to spread and create a discussion within itself. The ‘Share’ button is the focal point of every current marketing theory because it gives credibility to content. In the case of Kendrick Lamar and hip hop fans in general, if you weren’t tweeting or laughing at a meme about this moment, you were missing out on the biggest barber shop debate there ever was. Below are 4 trends of memes and tweets I noticed during this conversation in hip hop.
1. The “other rapper” memes
2. The Jay Electronica and Big Sean jokes (sorry they get their own category)
3. The tweets from the “other rappers”
4. The King of NY debate
These tweets and memes give us a quick glimpse into how people are not only reacting, but also the extent of this moment. Hopefully we can continue this transformation of the culture outside of our social networks. But until then remember “Conscience messages doesn’t come with negativity, but more so with respect and admiration! Kendrick Lamar is setting the standards high for a new age in the rap game and is simply challenging his peers to do the same !” – Bigg Shizz
To view the blog post on Follow Me Promotions official site and music, click here.