I’m not humble, / fuck it / I’m the opposite of Big K.R.I.T
The hip hop world has been abuzz since Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical assault on several of rap’s heavy hitters in his verse on the now infamous “Control,” a collaboration with Big Sean that sparred a barrage of angry responses from countless rappers—most notably B.O.B, Joel Ortiz, and Lupe Fiasco. Among the roster of “called out rappers” is Mississippi artist, Big K.R.I.T, who responded in his usual, modest, “Mississippi boy” manner. But not every Mississippi rapper would respond so favorably.
Mississippi MC / producer, Camden Da Bastard, responds with what may be the underground’s most incendiary, lyrically taut “fire-back” at Kendrick yet. And Camden’s not just inciting Kendrick—that would be too easy. He also has a few words for fellow Mississippi artist David Banner—and even hurls a gutsy, legitimately intelligent reprimand at Hov (“Fuck a Picasso Baby / Nigga, Picasso was crazy”). He doesn’t cut B.O.B any slack either and offers a scathing critique of his verse saying: “B.O.B was whack / bury his verse under a flower bed.” Most importantly, Camden’s “#ControlMississippi” featuring Howard Boy (an equally agile lyricist widely acclaimed for his mixtape, Muddy Waters), sheds light on a Mississippi hip hop history to which few outside the state are even privy and scolds a former 106 & Park host for her trite insinuations about the state.
“#ControlMississippi” responds to Kendrick Lamar with a ferocity evocative of Tupac’s “Hit Em’ Up,” only Camden doesn’t hurl death threats. He does, however, spit cleverly crafted lines wrapped in Mississippi colloquialisms. With a running time of more than seven minutes, the song’s entire message to Kendrick can’t be assessed here, but, in a few of my favorite lines, he says to Kendrick: “I understand ya dope son / but like a million Mexicans, / I bet ya ain’t the only one.” And though Camden by no means disses David Banner, he does offer this observation: “I’m from the state that never had a run, / vagabonds / somebody tell David Banner: Look homie, we havin’ one.”
Still, Camden does more than just mention David Banner; he also weighs in on more intimate matters of Mississippi’s hip hop underground, a feat rarely attempted by less daring artists who fear backlash from their fellow rap colleagues. For starters, he asserts: “Sant need a deal / ain’t rushin’, but what’s the problem? / I hope to God that nigga don’t end up like Kamikaze.” What the national rap audience doesn’t know is that before David Banner became the first Mississippi MC to garner national attention, he was half of the duo Crooked Lettaz with fellow Mississippi rapper Kamikaze. The latter quickly faded into the shadow of his counterpart, never truly emerging from the underground or Banner’s shadow. Since Big K.R.I.T’s rise to stardom, questions have emerged about Big Sant’s fate. The Alumni, composed of K.R.I.T and Sant, is eerily reminiscent of Crooked Lettaz; and Sant’s debut project, MFxOG, though impressive in its own right, seems to dwell in the shadow of K.R.I.T’s critically acclaimed list of releases.
As if the waters of Mississippi’s underground hip hop scene aren’t troubled enough, the state has always suffered, and still does, the brunt of troubling, stereotypical media portrayals. In a rather comical manner, Camden addresses stereotypes about the Magnolia state—specifically one involving 106 & Park’s former host Rocsi and her questioning of Viola Davis about whether or not Mississippi has fried Kool-Aid. Camden issues this response to Rocsi: “We don’t fry no Kool-Aid / bout that shit, I’m still pissy. / Rocsi can kiss my ass with them lips she suckin’ dick with.” If that wasn’t harsh enough, he also has an all-inclusive message for those responsible for Mississippi’s unfair media portrayals: “Fuck any critic dissin’ Mississippi.”
Listen to Camden Da Bastard’s & Howard Boy’s “#ControlMississippi” here: