Much media attention was brought to the lyrical content of Lamar's verse on "Control", in which he calls out, by name, 12 fellow rappers—J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, ASAP Rocky, Drake, Tyler, The Creator and Mac Miller, as well as his co-artists on the song, Big Sean and Jay Electronica—and raps: "I got love for you all but I'm tryin' to murder you niggas / Trying to make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas / They don't want to hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas." In the same verse, he proclaims himself to be "the king of New York" and "king of the Coast".
Lamar's Twitter account saw a 510% increase in followers in the week following the track's release, while his Wikipedia page garnered 200,000 page views.
The song garnered many responses and diss tracks from several notable rappers in the form of song, many of which are labeled "Kendrick Lamar Response" or "Control Response." Kendrick Lamar responded to the amount of responses saying the best were by King Los, Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden and Chocolate Drop, Kevin Hart's rap persona, also calling Papoose's the "comical joint". Rappers who responded via song include:
Complex ranked the song number ten, on their list of the 50 Best Songs of 2013. Rob Kenner said, "No matter which verse you prefer it’s hard to deny that "Control" will go down in history as a milestone in hip-hop, and easily ranks as one of 2013’s most important records."Rolling Stone also positioned the song at number 13 on their list of the 100 best songs of 2013. They said, "Lamar hops on this chipmunk-soul track and spits the rap verse of the year"XXL named it one of the top five hip hop songs of 2013.NME ranked the song at number 41 on their list of the 50 best songs of the year. It was positioned at number 73 on Pitchfork Media's list of the 100 best songs of 2013.Complex also named Lamar's appearance the best rap verse of 2013.