We should just say fuck it and give Young Guru his own column. (In case you don't know, Guru is Jay Z's engineer and right-hand man.) In the clip above, Guru and producer 9th Wonder discuss Kendrick Lamar's "Control" verse. What makes the clip so great is Guru's spot-on analysis about why the verse is such a flawless chess move.
As Guru points out, the barber shop conversations about rap usually revolve around how such and such rapper can't A) Rap well enough or B) Sell records. But Kendrick has done both (We can't repeat this stat enough times: Kendrick, Nicki Minaj, and Drake are the only "new" rappers who've gone platinum in the last five years) which gives him a unique position to push the genre forward in ways that were starting to seem unimaginable. Guru also touches on how polite Kendrick is in giving respect to the OGs like Jay Z and Nas as well as his rap buddies, but still finds the right maneuvers to challenge them all.
Hearing these guys talk about how clever the verse is touches on something that's overlooked about this entire ordeal: Kendrick is essentially in the castle with a sword with no dragon to slay. The position that 9th and Guru describe him being in (a guy who can rap his ass off, sell records, has all the co-signs, and is in a popping crew) is unique in hip-hop's current landscape. With no one to push him forward, maybe Kendrick is just looking for a challenge. Because there's nothing worse than when you wake up in the morning, you look in the mirror, and all you see is your only opponent.
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