Rappers often seem like they are in competition, probably because of the nature of their art form. They have to be brash, cocky, outspoken, and a lot of times, very self-focused, to the point it feels like they are all clamoring for a single spot at “the top” of the rap game. In reality, though, there is no real top or “number-one spot”; they can all collect the same trophies over time and many of them enjoy and respect each others’ crafts. Just watch Drake express his appreciation for J. Cole while refuting the North Carolinian’s self-deprecating third-place claim from “Heaven’s EP.”
In a similar way, Tyler The Creator — who has a legitimate claim on the rap album of the year thanks to Call Me If You Get Lost — praises Kendrick Lamar in his XXL cover story. He especially points to Kendrick’s verse on Baby Keem’s “Family Ties,” saying, “You know why it ruined me? Because it’s someone at that level still gunning. He’s trying new voices. He’s trying new shit. He’s still learning. You can tell he was off his phone for a few months.”
Watch Tyler The Creator’s photoshoot interview with XXL above and read the full cover story here.