Joell Ortiz made headlines this week as the first rapper to respond to Kendrick Lamer after his controversial claim that he was “the King of New York” in Lamar’s guest verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” Ortiz’s “Outta Control” became the first in a flood of responses to Kendrick’s verse from rappers across all echelons of hip-hop.
The Brooklyn-born rapper spoke with VladTV this week on why he couldn’t let Kendrick’s “King of New York” line stand and the importance of healthy competition in hip-hop.
Speaking on Kendrick’s line, Joell offered: ”It hit me as am MC.” Ortiz told Vlad TV. “Hold on. I don’t know about that one… The MC in me wouldn’t stand for that. So I did what I did.”
Ortiz also explained why he felt snubbed by Kendrick after his group, Slaughterhouse, was not name-checked on the track with such popular rappers as Drake, Big Sean and Wale. He posited the exclusion as another reason why he felt the need to respond to Kendrick’s track.
“I’m not sure if he excluded us out of respect or if we weren’t on his radar but it felt like my job.” Joell said. “I had to make everyone aware on that stage, just in case, you don’t know.”
Despite feeling as if Kendrick overstepped his boundaries with his claim, Joell still has a lot of love for Kendrick explaining that he appreciates what he’s doing for hip-hop by reigniting the flames of competition.
“I like Kendrick Lamar, man. I really love what he’s doing for the culture. I love what he’s doing for hip hop and being such an honest person, and when I heard the record I loved it. This is what I’m talking about, bringing it back to that competitive nature that we all grew up on…I appreciate his bravery. I’m so not a hater. That takes big cajones. I gotta respect it. Although, I obviously, immediately disagreed.”
You can hear Joell Ortiz’s full interview below.