Upon releasing his latest song, "Rhyme of the Year (MK Ultra)," Nino Bless spoke exclusively to HipHopDX about whether or not it's a Kendrick Lamar diss and how he feels about K. Dot's "King of New York" claims on Big Sean's "Control."
"I think [Kendrick Lamar's] a great ambassador for this culture and right now he's in front of the movement," Nino Bless said in an exclusive statement to HipHopDX today (August 26). "Does that make him the best? Maybe not, but he's on top of the game, but he definitely has everyone's attention who cares about substance. What he did was great for Hip Hop and I know why it ruffled some feathers.
"First off, you call yourself the King of New York," Bless continued. "In the East Coast, it's N.Y.C. and Boston. We're two of the most prideful places on this planet. You won't find many cities on earth more prideful. So you already know it hurt some egos that an out-of-town kid called himself the King of N.Y. Born and raised in Brooklyn for 24 years of my life, I can tell you I didn't take offense to it at all. He's the King of N.Y. Hell, he's the King Of Hip Hop. With that verse, he was trying to raise the level of competition up and make rappers step their shit up and it's obviously done that. Hip Hop is competitive and a lot of what we do, there's a ton of ego behind it. A lot of dudes were bitter 'cause they want that spot. Egos were crushed when that happened and I feel like almost every rapper felt he was talking about them. The problem is when you step up and openly say, 'This throne is mine. I want it.' There's going to be people who try to stop you."
Nino also spoke about what he hopes to convey with "Rhyme of the Year," a song that he says was done in the spirit of competition.
"I don't think a lot of rappers responding to Kendrick did it in the spirit of competition," Nino said. "Some guys were flat out saying, 'fuck you' when they should have thanked him for channeling inspiration to hit the booth and care. This record is thanking him in the spirit of competition and doing what he did with a statement, but in a more lyrical sense. I took it up a notch lyrically, above what 99.5% of folks are doing right now. There's maybe 3 to 4 people on the planet that can do anything to touch that verse. I make subtle references regarding the situation, but it's bigger than that.
"This is my statement for true lyricists," Nino continued. "I personally think caring about any regional crown these days is small chips compared to the bigger fight. Two generations from now, where will your music stand? In 2052, when a kid into music wants to try to dig into the psyche of someone going through the motions, today a lot of what is popping today won't even matter to that kid. Think about it. We didn't care about the richest men in history class. It was the ones who were the most innovative, set a standard, were ahead of their time. I'm fighting a bigger fight than caring about a local crown or any of that shit. I want a kid right now or in the near future who doesn't have a proper index to maybe listen to this and maybe it fuels a different type of fire and shows him new possibilities of things to do with words and flow. Maybe he'll use this as well as something else to become an important figure in our culture."
"Rhyme of the Year (MK Ultra)" features lines about Kendrick Lamar. On the song, Bless says, "It took a Compton kid to call himself the King for heads to sense the heat / Before that, New York was asleep while rocking to French's beats / I'ma address this, my legacy ain't defined by this though / I acknowledge this but here, I'll play a prominent role." Later on the track, Bless mentioned Top Dawg Entertainment. "'Pac from heaven is running this Rap shit / Hova's Jewish investors are running this Rap shit / T.D.E is running this Rap shit / Their brother dropped the bait, all these rappers done grabbed it."
"Rhyme of the Year (MK Ultra)" can be heard below.
Nino Bless is a New York-based rapper who released his R.O.A.M. Latin Marksman 2 in 2012. It was a follow-up to his 2009 release, The Latin Marksman: The Hit Files, Volume 1. He is currently working on a new album that is set to feature Slug of Atmosphere and Saigon.