Exclusive: Cassidy explains why he decided to write a response to Kendrick Lamar's verse on "Control" and talks about why he is "excited" about the song.
Cassidy is the latest rapper to respond to Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's "Control." The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania rapper spoke with HipHopDX shortly after releasing his "Control Freestyle" today (August 14). During the interview, Cassidy explained what he thought when he first heard Kendrick Lamar's verse.
"I got excited," Cassidy said in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. "I was happy when I heard, you know, Kendrick Lamar had the heart to say the things that he said or do the things that he did because I'm a pure Hip Hop head. I can vibe off with certain rappers, but I'm really Hip Hop. I started off, you know, battling and being in thousands of cyphers and running the streets and just rapping is what I do. You know what I'm saying. I didn't get in the game to be successful or to wear jewelry and drive cars. I got in the game because I really love Hip Hop."
Cassidy has seen the tides of lyricism change in recent times, he said.
"I knew the game was turning around anyways," he said. "You see a lot of these artists that...see people get it confused. They might hear a certain artists on the radio or see a video and they might think they winning but when you look at record sales, the artist that's not really being lyrical, they not winning, like, right at this present moment. And the artists that are trying to be more lyrical and come up with original ideas and go in their own lane, they selling more. And they winning more. So I seen that the climate was changing and that people was ready to hear lyrics and bars. But with Kendrick doing what he did, he gave them a bridge to walk over to feel comfortable with saying that they ready to hear bars, and Hip Hop is back, and they ready to take it back to people being more competitive 'cause that's how the game started. So, I'm happy that he did that, you know, opened up the door for not just me or him, but a bunch of other rappers in the world to just start focusing again. Start focusing with coming up with crazy bars and being competitive and everybody not being so buddy-buddy, like everybody in one relationship and everybody all kissing and hugging. Nah! In this rap game, even if you are friends with someone you still supposed to be competitive. Like, Kendrick said, you are supposed to get on track with somebody and try to shine over them, try to have a better verse. You are always supposed to try to always do your thing, no matter what. That's what I feel is lacking in the game right now. So, that's the reason why I had to jump on the track and do what I did to let people know that I'm in the same lane."
Cassidy Explains "Kendrick Couldn't Shine On Me" Line
Though he says that he is in the same lane as Kendrick Lamar, his "Control" freestyle took a shot at the Top Dawg Entertainment emcee.
"Nobody better," Cassidy says on the song. "I do whatever I wanna do and since you're scared to come at me I'ma come at you. What the fuck is the game coming to? Kendrick couldn't shine on me on a song if he wanted to."
When asked about the line, Cassidy addressed his stance.
"Yeah, I feel like that not just with Kendrick but with anybody," Cassidy said to HipHopDX. "I done been on songs with legends, like, some of the best that ever did it, and I feel like they couldn't shine on me on a song. Every time I jump on a song with somebody, I'm going to try to show my ass. I'm going to try to do my thing and I don't want nobody to feel like they gon' get on a song with me and shine over me. You're going to always have to bring your best and I'm always going to bring my best and it's going to be what it's going to be. So it's not just directed at Kendrick but because he said that, he's trying to shine over the artists that he named in his song, I'm just letting people know that even if he did have that mentality and he wanted to shine over me, he still couldn't because I'ma be on my A-game and this is what I do, nothing but bars and nothing but punch lines. I was waiting for the game to make this turnaround and focus back on the bars so that artists like me and artists that's kind of in the same lane as me could get the opportunity to shine and be crazy relevant again."
Cassidy Says He Respects Kendrick Lamar's "Heart"
Cassidy also said that he has respect for Kendrick Lamar. "Oh yeah, without a question," the Philadelphia rapper said. "Even if you heard the song like I did, I did a song called 'Face to Face.' I did a song called 'It Is What It Is,' and even on the song 'The Problem,' I was naming a lot of artists and mentioning artists that's cool with me and then other artists that I don't like or artists that I would want to see battle each other. So I been doing stuff like that. You know what I'm saying? 'The Problem' was on my first album and I did songs like that. So I can relate. You know what I'm saying? It's not like a totally new idea but being that the fact that the timing is different, a lot of people that listen music right now can't even remember or wasn't even around when I was doing that. But being to the fact that he did it right now, where the game is at, I felt as though it was definitely a brave move and I respect it. Like, you got to have some nuts to be able to say some of things that he said in his verse. Just anybody wouldn't even have had the balls to do that. So I respect him on that level for having heart."
By releasing the freestyle, Cassidy says he has also allowed others to continue talking about his work.
"You go on Twitter right now and see there's thousands and thousands and thousands of people that's like, 'Cassidy the best, Cassidy the best,'" he said. "And that's all that I do it for. It's the cats that fuck with my music. I just want to show them that I'm going to always go hard and try to hold it down and I'm not going to back down and people like that attitude.
"That's why they so excited right now," Cassidy continued. "They like to see rappers with that attitude like, 'Yo, I'm the best. I aint backin' down and ain't nobody better than me.' You used to always see people back in the day like, 'I'm the dopest, you sucka emcees.' They used to have that mentality like, 'I'm the best,' and that's what used to get you excited. It's the same thing with wrestling. Like, wrestling is completely fake. You know wrestling is completely fake but just seeing them with that competitive attitude, you trying to figure out who is going to win the wrestling match. It's what keeps people still watching wrestling to this day. With boxing and UFC, you would rather see a fighter say, "He can't beat me. I'm going to knock him out. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that.' You'd rather see that mentality as opposed to them looking scared or saying, 'Oh, I'm just going to go out and fight. I don't know how it's going to turn out.' You don't want to see that. The fans like to see the same thing with rappers. They like to hear rappers say, 'I'm the best.' Be cocky, but also be able to back it up, and when it's time to back it up, they ready. They like that. And I like that too."
Cassidy's Split Personality was released in 2004 and it was followed by 2005's I'm A Hustla and 2007's B.A.R.S. (The Barry Adrian Reese Story). All three albums were released on J Records, the rapper's home for three years. In 2008, Cassidy released Back to the Problem via Amalgam. Cass is currenly working on a new mixtape and album and says neither project has an official title yet.
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