TDE's Punch Talks Kendrick's "Control" Verse: 'He's Saying He's Pac and Biggie'

In an appearance on Math Hoffa’s 'My Expert Opinion' podcast, TDE president Punch broke down his interpretation of Kendrick Lamar’s iconic “Control” verse.

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In an appearance on Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion podcast, TDE president Punch broke down his interpretation of Kendrick Lamar’s iconic verse on Big Sean’s 2013 track “Control.”

From his perspective, Punch said that he and Kendrick spoke about the general atmosphere in the hip-hop community at the time. They came to the conclusion that everyone was “friendly” with one another, which is ultimately what inspired Kendrick to deliver such a hard-hitting verse. “He told me he wanted to give Sean another verse, but Sean was like, ‘Nah, keep that,’” Punch said at the 1:10 mark above. “Competitive MC stuff, I don’t know if that was the best move.”

Punch knew it wasn’t a mistake to release the verse when he saw former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson tweet about it. “We knew it was huge, Kendrick didn’t understand the impact ‘cause he was overseas touring,” he continued.

Punch was then asked by Hoffa what the meaning of the “King of New York” bar was about, especially since Kendrick also proclaimed himself the king of the West Coast on the song, too.

“He was saying he was Pac and Biggie,” he said. “He said, ‘I’m the King of New York and the King of the Coast,’ he’s talking about West Coast.” It was then highlighted by a co-host that many perceived the New York part of the line to be a reference to the drug lord character Frank White, who was portrayed by Christopher Walken in Abel Ferrara’s 1990 neo-noir King of New York. “That was a Kurupt bar, originally, ‘cause Kurupt said that and Kurupt was referencing that he was Frank White,” added Punch. “So Kendrick was giving praise to that and taking it in his own direction.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Punch spoke about all the responses the verse inspired. “I listened to all of them,” he said, while noting that Joe Budden “might” have released his favorite response. “It was funny to us. We literally sitting back, like, ‘Ha! N****s mad. Look, all of them responding. That’s crazy.’”

Just days after the arrival of “Control,” Budden dropped “Lost Control” on which he suggested Kendrick calling himself the King of New York was equivalent to spitting on Biggie’s grave. In 2013, per HipHopDX, Kendrick gave Budden praise, but said his favorite response came from King Los.

In a recent interview with Complex, Punch spoke about Kendrick’s departure from TDE following the release of his latest album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. Many fans assumed when he left the label there might have been some bad blood between Kendrick and him, but he said that’s certainly not the case.

“People can feel and think whatever they want, but in this particular situation, the goal is to build an artist to what they want to do,” he said. “This is what he wanted to do, so we helped build him to it. That’s not a negative at all. It’s actually a positive, because he’s leveling up. He’s going from one stage to the next stage of how he sees his life and career progressing. You’re not here to hold anybody forever. You come in, you do what you set out to do, and then you continue to move forward.”

Watch Punch’s interview on My Expert Opinion above.

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