Big Sean’s “Control” track almost made HOF album
On August 12, 2013, Big Sean released his single “Control.” The song (featuring Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica) was initially meant to be a single for Sean’s Hall of Fame album, but due to sample clearances, the song remained as a promotional single for the album.
“Control” sampled “El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido” by Quilapayún and Sergio Ortega and Jay-Z‘s 1997 “Where I’m From” track.
Kendrick’s standout bars from “Control:
” I heard the barbershops be in great debates all the time
Bout who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas
Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all
New niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved
And I ain’t rockin no more designer shit
White T’s and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous
I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ wit
But this is hip hop and them niggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you niggas
In retrospect, the song was one of the biggest moments of the year and within the decade of hip-hop. “I knew what it was for the culture of hip-hop,” Sean told Vibe Magazine in an interview. “You see how excited people are, and I wanted to do that for music—make that play happen. It gave me like the feeling of how hip-hop was. How it used to be. When I heard that verse I wasn’t about to go back and change my verse—that’s cheating. That ain’t the way of an O.G. That ain’t how G’s move. I wanted to [release the song] for the culture of hip-hop as opposed to myself.”
Kendrick called in to Rosenburg at Hot 97 a few weeks after the verse was released.
“A the end of the day, if you listen to the line, I feel like these are cats that can inspire the game. They aspire to be the best just how I feel. I aspire to be the best. If they’re competitive and respect the culture of hip-hop, I don’t feel there should some ill-feel.”
As the years went on, Sean would go on to say that his verse was better than Kendrick’s. “I put that work in,” Sean told The Breakfast Club. “You not gonna disrespect me. I’ll hop on any track with anybody, and I will not only stand on my own but you’re gonna know that it’s my verse.”
Sean would go on to say that the song didn’t fit what he was trying to do for the album anyway, so it all worked out. The song would then go on to shift the energy of the culture — in a competitive way. There was always tension that would listeners would try to figure out between Sean and Kendrick, but Sean would go on to deny any beef between the two.