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The Spirit of Competition

Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole and Akenya have something to say about the call and response of competition.

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Kendrick Lamar had a huge inspiration board hanging in the garage where he was recording his album ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City’. On the board were five paragraphs of writing. It was said to be “a cross between a list of principles, an aesthetic credo, and [a] self-motivating tool”. There were 5 concepts on the list: Charisma/Personality/Swagger (grouped together as one), Substance, Lyrics, Uniqueness and Work Ethics.

This post isn’t just about Kendrick Lamar,  it’s about Akenya and the way the spirit of competition moved her to respond with self-reflection. So before you can really get into the gist of why I’m mentioning, watch the 4 minute video. Then, come back and read the contextualization below the dividing line.

I want to use Kendrick and the long-standing rap competition between him, Drake and J.Cole to illustrate that competition is sometimes inherent to an art-form. From the sundry of interviews, quotes and lyrical thesis statements I’ve heard from, I know he believes in the spirit of competition (against himself). It’s use for him spotlights his swagger, substance, lyrics, uniqueness and work-ethic. He often talks about his desire to be the best, through his passion. Don’t take my word for it, click these links and hear or read it for yourself.

By referencing the current “Big 3” competition between Kendrick Lamar, Drake and J.Cole in the art community of Hip Hop, I think it contextualizes that the spirit of competition can be a meaningful call and response tool. Wether people use it to set themselves apart as a different type of artist or like Akenya (or J.Cole) use it as a self-reflective mirror to also reveal the same.

J.Cole is getting the SLAP for his recent public apology to Kendrick, after he posted a response track to Kendrick’s “Like That” verse. Some of those lashings are coming from me because I think being petty has a time and a place that leads to right treatment. Moreover, I think competition has a time and place too (maybe that’s my 25-51 Human Design channel talking).

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