An Argument For Why Kendrick Lamar May Already Be The Greatest MC Of All-Time (Video)
Conversations in Hip-Hop about the Greatest Of All-Time (GOAT) MC are common. In fact, in 2014 and 2015 Ambrosia For Heads hosted a conversation among millions of fans to determine once and for all, who is the GOAT. In that debate, where over 200 MCs were considered, Eminem came out to be the winner, but, even amongst Heads, the argument continues.
In a recent video series, HipHopDX has begun exploring the question one artist at a time, having already made cases for Redman, TechNyne and Eminem. Each of those artists has been active for more than 20 years. Now, however, they turn their lens to a relatively newer MC, Kendrick Lamar, and make a compelling case for why he should already be in the discussion, if not be declared the greatest, outright.
In AFH’s GOAT MC contest, one of the themes that emerged was that of nostalgia. There was a distinct bias against artists who have come to prominence within the last 10 years, primarily because it was considered too soon to evaluate their body of work against MCs who have stood the test of time for decades. DX’s Justin Hunte wastes no time in giving context for why Kendrick already has accomplished as much or more than rappers who have been around for much longer.
“To put it in perspective, Kendrick has had 10 projects since 2005, and 6 widely-known projects since 2009’s The Kendrick Lamar EP.” Hunte begins. “Biggie had 3 discs on 2 projects before Diddy marketed him as the greatest that ever did it. Jay-Z insinuated he’s better than Big on The Blueprint, which was his 6th album. LL Cool J named his 8th album G.O.A.T. The Greatest Of All Time. Lil Wayne included the song “Best Rapper Alive” on his fifth album, The Carter 2. Kanye? He rhetorically called himself the greatest on “Gorgeous,” which was on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was his 5th studio album.” Lastly, Hunte points out that Drake called himself the greatest ever on “Over,” before he had even released an album. “Each of those artists are frequently listed in GOAT conversations, whether they’re taking place in barber shops or on tweet day,” he continues. So, why not Kendrick?
Beyond the number of projects Kendrick has, there’s also the level of quality. The Compton MC has a string of 6 straight releases that have garnered almost universal acclaim, including The Kendrick Lamar EP, Overly Dedicated, Section.80, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, To Pimp A Butterfly, and untitled unmastered. In the last 3 years, he has been nominated for 20 Grammy Awards, taking home 7 statues. In 2016, alone, he received 11 nominations, the second most in history, just 1 short of Michael Jackson’s 12 in 1984. Hunte bolster’s his argument with a compendium of critical reviews of Lamar’s work.
As AFH noted in its contest, many of Hip-Hop’s most respected MCs of all-time have been put in the GOAT conversation 5 years into their careers: Rakim in ’92, Biggie in ’99, Eminem in 2004…5 years in 2016 is no different than 5 years in those eras, so, by all considerations, Kendrick qualifies. As Hunte suggests in the video, Rap fans may not agree that Kendrick is THE GOAT, but the suggestion has to be respected.