Hip-hop’s generation gap has never been more prominent. While old heads constantly question the skills and originality of the new wave, the new wave disregards the old heads as out of touch and irrelevant. It’s an intense debate that has resulted in some controversial statements from each side trying to defend their respective era’s superiority. And now, Kodak Black has entered the old vs. new discussion with a bold—and almost laughable—argument: He suggests his lyrics are better than those of Jay Z.
Take a minute to let that soak in. Yes, he’s comparing himself to Jay Z—the Grammy-winning, platinum-selling hip-hop mogul whose discography spans more than two decades. But hey, it might also just be Kodak messing around or trolling, as some call it.
Kodak made a post to Instagram titled “Rap in the 90’s [sic] vs. rap now” with a side-by-side photo of him and Jay above their own lyrics. The post featured the hook from Hov’s 1998 “Money, Cash, Hoes” song featuring DMX and compared it to the hook on Kodak’s 2016 “I Can” track. The Painting Pictures rapper captioned the image: “Real Shit B Goin On .. None Of Dat Hopscotch Shit.”
A post shared by Project Baby (@kodakblack) on Dec 12, 2017 at 10:40am PST
Kodak tried it. Though we doubt this is a serious jab, many fans were quick to call out Kodak for attempting to prove his lyrical skills were better than those of Shawn “I’ve sold more than 100 million records” Carter.
While I was a fan of Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out for a bit, I fell out of watching it. Well, that's how I like to frame it; if I'm keeping it a buck, I probably aged out of the show. MTV really is for the kids, right? Either way, I was still surprised to hear that Cannon's literally taken his show on the road, with Hitman Holla, Conceited, and other guys from the show traveling across the country, recreating the hilarious series for a live audience and, at times, inviting some musical guests to perform.
This past Saturday, Nick Cannon and company slid through Orlando to perform Wild N' Out live (with word that a portion of the proceeds would be going to help the victims of Hurricane Irma). Their special musical guest? Florida native Kodak Black, who made waves when he apparently didn't finish his set.
A post shared by Project Baby (@kodakblack) on Sep 24, 2017 at 4:05pm PDT
He alludes to Nick Cannon and/or the promo team for this show (tour?) breached their contract due to them leaking his “surprise performance three times.” He went on to say that he was only contracted for one song and he “sorta” did three for them.
If Kodak's contract really said that his performance was supposed to be secret, then he might have a case, considering that Nick Cannontweeted about Kodak being on the show a few days before they hit Orlando. Without seeing the contract, it's hard to know who is actually right, but it is interesting to see Kodak take this much of a stance due to perceived contract disputes (or, at the very least, coming up with good lies as reason to cut his show short).
For those who are wondering, the Wild 'N Out tour has four more stops in October and November.
Over the last 15 years or so, there have been dozens and dozens of rappers who have compared themselves to 2Pac in various ways in their songs. This roundup from 2015 illustrates how everyone from Chief Keef and Eminem to Lil B and Lil Wayne have found a way to work one of the most influential rappers of all time into their lyrics.
But there have also been a handful of rappers in recent years who have taken things a step further. Rather than simply name-dropping 2Pac on a song as a way to compare themselves to him, they’ve actually gone on the record during interviews and concerts and told the world that they believe they are spitting images of Pac. Most recently, Troy Ave called his career the “second coming” of 2Pac during an interview with The Breakfast Club.
A post shared by The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) on Apr 5, 2017 at 6:06am PDT
“I go in the motherf*cking clubs and n*ggas going crazy,” he said. “In the clubs, in the streets, where they’re playing all the f*cking trap music and all type of sh*t, n*ggas go crazy. 'Oh sh*t, that’s Troy Ave.' N*gga, it’s the second coming of 2Pac. It’s NewPac.”
NewPac? Most people on social media panned that comparison immediately and told Troy that he is not in any way, shape, or form like 2Pac.
I can't remember the last time Troy Ave made a hit… on any radio station for that matter to say he's the next Tupac. That's disrespectful
You would think that, at this point, rappers would realize that comparing themselves to a rap legend like 2Pac is going to be met with ridicule. But that hasn’t stopped some of them from doing the same thing Troy just did. Here are several other rappers who have compared themselves to Pac in recent years.
What He Said: “It is the most significant return from incarceration that the game has had since [2Pac's All Eyez on Me]. Just given the enormous success of that project, everyone’s expecting the same results. I just want to meet the expectations, if not surpass them.” Where He Said It:Rolling Stone(2010)
When’s the last time you sat down and listened to No Mercy, the album T.I. was referencing in the quote above? It wasn’t his worst album, but it was no All Eyez on Me.
What He Said: “I ain’t 2Pac. I’m the new Pac.” Where He Said It:Concert (2013) Does Troy Ave know “New Pac” already exists?
What He Said: “When we’re standing face to face, you know who you’re talking to. You know you see me as a Gemini creator of 2014. You know you’re looking in the face of Miles Davis. You know you’re looking in the face of Lauryn Hill. You know you’re looking in the face of Pac. You know you’re looking in the face of Biggie. You know you’re looking in the face of Prince. You know you’re looking in the face of every Gemini creator.” Where He Said It:Concert (2014)
In fairness to Kanye, he was trying to make a point about SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels and some jokes that were made at his expense. We think he made that point loud and clear.
What He Said: “Nobody in this game got my credentials. Just me and Pac. As far as Hov, Hov is a businessman. Me and Pac is more so on revolutionary leadership. Hov, that’s my G. I respect anything he do. But he’s a boss. He makes boss moves. Me and Pac, we always on the ground level, trying to motivate and inspire.” Where He Said It:Hot 97 (2014)
If you’re going to compare yourself to 2Pac, this is probably the way to do it. Jeezy hasn’t had quite the impact 2Pac did, but we can see what he was going for here.
What He Said: “I don’t think they’ll replace me now. Already my face is in the hearts of people who really love hip-hop music, and the culture’s growing to the point where you have people from all walks of life choosing it for their personal pleasure. So it’s already there. I don’t think it’s going to take me being killed to compare me to Biggie or 2Pac. I am immortal.” Where He Said It:The Guardian (2014)
50’s recent output doesn’t put him in the same category as B.I.G. and Pac. But he will likely go down as one of the more important figures in rap when it’s all said and done.
What He Said: “I only like people to know what I want them to know. People didn’t know what Tupac was doing. That’s why he was so iconic. Before [the internet], it was real superstars…I don’t engage with people that much. You can’t base your life off waking up every morning like, 'What are people saying about me now?' Then I’d never stay in my creative headspace.” Where He Said It:DuJour (2016)
Reminder: Tyga also once referred to 2Pac as “Dad” on Twitter.
What He Said: “I already know I’m a better rapper than 2Pac is. That’s just facts. One on one battle, I’ll flame Pac.” Where He Said It:Genius (2017) Joey Badass didn’t just compare himself to 2Pac once. He also doubled down on his comparison on Twitter later and said he was “referring to rap skill.”