When Kendrick Lamar set off a firestorm with his "Control" verse earlier this year, one angle of his verse seemed particularly audacious.
No, it wasn't that he called out his team of rivals by name. It wasn't even the names he avoided, even if one or two omissions raised a few eyebrows; after all, the names he had dropped were friends. Instead, it was his claim—quoting Kurupt or not, he still said it—that he was the King of New York.
But it also got us thinking: who is the King of New York? And what about the rest of the country? Who is the dominant presence in Detroit, in Los Angeles, in Atlanta?
So we decided to ask the experts.
We talked to 13 hip-hop writers from across the continent, and asked them to weigh in on hip-hop's current kings. Who runs Houston? Which rapper is on top in Philly? Is Kendrick Lamar really the King of New York?
So read up on royalty, with The King of the City: The Best Rapper in 13 Hip-Hop Meccas.
Written by Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano), Craig Jenkins (@Craigsj), Willy Staley (@WillyStaley), William E. Ketchum III (@WEKetchum), Maurice Garland (@Maurice_Garland), Brandon Wyche (@HipHopSince1987), Al Shipley (@AlShipley), John Shaw (@jdoggtn), Scott Brown (@blackbeanage), Justin Ivey (@JustinIveyKN), Jeff Weiss (@PassionWeiss), Ernest Wilkins (@ErnestWilkins), Cyrus K. Taravati (@definitely_nah).
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