Tell’Em Why You “m.A.A.d.” Shyne

October 24th, 2012

(Photos from left: John Ricard / BET, UPI/Debbie Hill /Landov)

By Gee King

Despite the blogosphere’s desire to crown Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city the new Illmatic, there’s a growing backlash from those who don’t believe the “classic” pedestal the Internets have thrust upon it. Shyne is on the frontlines of the debate, telling Hot 97’s Ciph & Rosenberg that he thinks the Dr. Dre protégé’s debut LP is “trash.” Shyne raises valid points, crediting the Interscope machine that’s pumping Kendrick’s opus through every possible channel for the bandwagon movement that’s growing around him. But by taking his frustration with a broken game out on the young genius that’s beating the system, Po’s not doing anything but painting himself as a washed up hater.

His envy is understandable. He got the worst of the system— staying true to the code and sacrificing a promising career only to return home to learn that his credibility no longer has value. But Kendrick is not to blame. Shyne admitted to recognizing the Cali wordsmith’s immense talent. So why can’t he just be happy that the future is in the right hands? The TDE movement Kendrick has built with Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and company possesses the vision and momentum to do big things in a time of opportunity. If they can get help from the Interscope giant that’s backing them while remaining independent, they could have a brighter future than A$AP, Cinematic or Odd Future.

And isn’t that a good thing? The Black Hippy movement is an evolved version of the Native Tongues era that highlighted Hip Hop’s ’90s golden era. It’s good music on the edge of the current creative wave; it has positive vibes concerning politics and parties; and it’s all being overseen by Dr. Dre! The system has an obvious hand in things, but that’s a reality for anyone who wants to accomplish anything of consequence in the rap game. Shyne of all people knows this. He worked with Puffy, as he reminded us, seemingly to give his critique more credibility, so he should know how tough it is for greatness to make it through the cracks. He’s entitled to his opinion, but someone with the spiritual maturity of Moses Levi should be more aware of the power of his energy.

The irony of Shyne’s critiques are the final blow to his credibility. “Once your beats is trash, you’re finished,” he explained, clearly from experience. “You can’t have no good flow, I don’t even wanna hear what you got to say.” When you consider the fact that that was the reaction Shyne has gotten consistently from the entire game since coming home, it’s hard not to chuckle. Going on to compare it to Cornell West’s album was funny, but the hate in his voice spoils the fun. Kendrick learned from the past and played the game right. He’s a good kid that’s making it in a crazy game. A little hype won’t kill him.

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