I'm important like the Pope, I'm a Muslim on pork
I'm Makaveli's offspring, I'm the king of New York
-Kendrick Lamar on “Control”
Kendrick Lamar shook up the rap world with a single verse on Big Sean’s song “Control.” Aside from calling out a bunch of today’s rappers, Kendrick, a Compton, Calif. native, really touched a nerve with the “king of New York” line.
It drew a few responses (Like Joel Ortiz, who rhymed "Little homie you ain't the king of New York,/You the next thing on my fork,” or Diddy, who posted this photo on Instagram), but mostly it drew a buzz that made Kendrick Lamar more famous by the day.
He is not the only outsider with this level of audacity.
Paul Pierce, an Inglewood, Calif. native and life-long Boston Celtic, has spent the summer throwing stones across the East River at the Manhattanites in Knicks country. Earlier this month he said…
“I think the hate [for the Knicks] has grown a little. Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it's grown to another level," Pierce said on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show" on Thursday. "I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city."
Complex: Do you hate the Knicks?
Pierce: With a passion. Let's start it up right now. Let's start the beef. It's no secret that me and New York got history. It's no secret. This is no secret. It's already known.
Complex: You plan on helping Brooklyn steal the city?
Pierce: Oh yeah. Right now it might be like 70-30 but we're gonna push that the other way.
"They will never take over the city. Because we've got 'New York' on our chest," Felton said Sunday. "They've got 'Brooklyn' on their chest, and we've got 'New York.' They'll never take over the city.
"[Pierce] saying that is just him talking. At the end of the day, it's all about rivalries. We understand that — he knows that, I know that. He's just trying to fuel it.”
Pierce is not only fueling it, he is standing on top of the Empire State Building with a fire hose spraying kerosene on it. Just like Kendrick Lamar dissed all those guys on his track and crowned himself king of New York to get himself a share of the spotlight, Pierce is dissing the Knicks to elevate the Nets to their level.
Knicks fans may scoff at these comments because of how God-awful Pierce was in the playoffs against them last season. But Pierce is no longer in a "carry-the-team" role, which is a very important distinction.
There will no longer be a Pierce-as-ball handler pick and roll with Kevin Garnett where the Knicks can blitz him because there are no other ball handlers on the team. The Nets have more offensive weapons, and can run pick and rolls with Deron Williams and Pierce on the wing, with KG, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez just hanging around needing defensive attention.
Pierce, perhaps more than anyone on the Nets, stands to benefit most from the summer blockbuster with Boston.
Pierce has never lacked confidence, and he is almost always found some way turn Madison Square Garden into his personal playground. The Celtics had a natural rivalry with the Knicks that made Pierce up his game in New York, but that has been magnified now that the Nets have invaded Brooklyn.
Pierce will keep on talking, and the Knicks and their fans will keep responding, setting the stage for some epic showdowns to see who really is in control of New York City.