(Photos Via: Brooklyn Vegan, Photographer: Dylan Johnson)
After listening to Overly Dedicated some years ago, I was convinced that Kendrick Lamar would ascend the hip hop iron throne as our generation’s Nas. The independently released Section.80 only solidified my beliefs. To date, his major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city, has sold over 700,000 copies worldwide. Was I right? Yes.
And it’s only beginning.Truthfully, I had never caught Kendrick live until last night’s show at Roseland Ballroom here in New York. But I had high hopes,having experienced both Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul’s phenomenal performances when I was living in Buffalo. I thought, if his label mates were amazing live, Kendrick, who outshines them in every sense of the word, would be incredible. Again, I was right.
Kendrick Lamar, outfitted in an NYC cap and a pair of leather pants, has transcended from the depths of the underground to the eschelons of super stardom, and yet he remains humble. At one point during the sold out show, he paused for a moment to tell the crowd that “He was cut from the same soil.” His preaching, if you’d call it that, was interlaced throughout the 30 minute set. But when the crowd wasn’t listening deftly to the rapper’s sermon, they were spitting along with him.
Kendrick ripped through his catalog of songs, performing cuts from all of his releases. Fan favorites included, Money Trees, Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, Poetic Justice, The Recipe, Backseat Freestyle, m.A.A.d City, Swimming Pools, Hol’ Up, A.D.H.D., Tammy’s Song (Her Evils), Blow My High, P&P 1.5, and Cut You Off. I prefer Lamar’s jazzier material, but the crowd really got crunk during his harder cuts. For some of those tracks he was accompanied by his TDE lablemates J. Rock, Ab-Soul, and SchoolboyQ, who spit their guest features to a hyped crowd. He even found the time to perform both Get Ready For Detox and his verse from A$AP Rocky’s Fuckin’ Problems. During the second show, Kendrick surprised the crowd with a surprise performance from A$AP Rocky and 50 Cent. I would have killed to see 50 last night. Oh well, next time.
This whole time I’m thinking, could this show get any better? And then he murdered an encore performance of one of his dopest and most underrated tracks, Cartoons & Cereal. If only Gunplay was there to spit his phenomenal verse.As I left the venue, others were just arriving, readying themselves in the cold rain for the second sold out performance of the night. Thank you Kendrick, New York sleeps well tonight.