Kendrick Lamar @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (pics, review & full video)
Over the last few years, Kendrick Lamar has become one of the biggest names in music. He has gone from underground hip-hop leader to festival headliner. At Coachella in 2012, Dr. Dre brought him onstage (as well as a 2Pac hologram!) for a passing of the West Coast torch. He opened up for Kanye on his infamous YEEZUS tour and has even taken home seven Grammy awards. So, when a private American Express cardholder concert was announced at the intimate Music Hall of Williamsburg, one day before the show, tickets sold out instantly. This was for sure going to a wild night.
After a surprise opening set by DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammed, filled with boom bap and A Tribe Called Quest classics, K dot took the stage with a full band and didn't stop for about 90 minutes. From the moment he dropped the opening lines of "untitled 07 l 2014-2016" ("Love won't get you high as this! Drugs won't get you high as this!") the crowd was screaming every word and already worked into a frenzy! He followed it up with a run of tracks that kept everyone bouncing, including "Institutionalized," "Backseat Freestyle," "Swimming Pools (Drank)" and more that ranged his entire career. The show never lost momentum, even when he invited fans onstage to "battle" or spit a rhyme (two of the three participants actually received a solid response). Kendrick constantly thanked the crowd and mentioned how special it was for him to play such a small show for his fans after all these years.
Although there were professional cameras inside and huge trailers lining the street in front of the venue (the show was live-streamed), you would never know from Kendrick's performance. He made more eye contact with those rhyming along with him instead of the cameras and even shouted out friends and die hard fans he recognized from his earliest shows. For someone who hails from the West Coast, this show felt like a homecoming of sorts. Everyone in attendance seemed to know how lucky they were to be seeing someone who is rumored to be headlining Coachella in 2017. And although he has a nickname of King Kendrick, the t-shirt he wore seemed to show his true colors. Disney's outlaw fox version of Robin Hood appeared on the front and the words "Steal From the Rich, Give to the Poor" was written on the back. All hail.
Photos from the show in the gallery above. Full video if you missed it, below: