One of the top rising stars in US hip hop and the ultimate ‘Black Hippy’ K.Dot aka Kendrick Lamar (or vice versa) dropped by London last night to play the first of his 2 date mini tour of the UK and his first ever performance in our hometown. Obviously events like this don’t happen everyday so me, Blu and Ravae headed to Camden primed for some lyricism at it’s purest and hard.
1 hour after arriving and after listening to what I imagine broke some record for the longest set ever by DJ (someone) the man of the hour arrived to rapturous applause, definately one of the best crowds i’ve ever experienced at a London venue, we’re normally quite hard to please fellows. The chorus of ‘Fuck Your Ethnicity’ was deafening and Kendrick flew onto the stage, erupting into full lyrical flow, hearing the crowds chants he put middle fingers straight up, something fans of the man would know he likes to do a lot when performing.
You could tell Kendrick was a little taken back by the accolades from the UK crowd, I never really imagine US artists getting taken in by crowds but genuine love was spread out by the people of LDN and DJ Ali and K.Dot did not let the fans miss out, “Clap for yourselves” was probably said more than any other line by the rapper from Compton, LA. Mid way through the set to thank the fans the music stopped and any request from any fan was encourage, it meant tracks from the ‘Kendrick Lamar EP’ and ‘(O)verly (D)edicated’ were played probably more than expected and it wasn’t like the crowd didn’t know the words, the UK loves Kendrick Lamar.
Eloquently Kendrick reeled off tongue tangling ‘battle rap’ track ‘Rigamortis’ showcasing the immersive and cultured vocals we have grown to hear from the TDE main man who continued to rattle off hits like ‘Hol’ Up’, ‘Pussy & Patron’ (which got the loudest singalong of the night) and the ever spectacular ‘HiiPower,’ it was a good mixture of more recent and past hits spanning the short career of who is primed to be one of the best spitters for the next 10 years. Chant’s of ‘Suck My Dick’ were a particular highlight of mine during the simple astonishing ‘Spiteful Chant’ (don’t watch the bias, it’s one of my favourite tracks) and the brilliant ‘ADHD’ which got one of the best whole song singalongs I’ve seen at a relatively new artist’s concerts.
After a brief encore (started by the DJ, seems like the crowd didn’t really understand how an encore worked, no offense people who were their reading this), Kendrick finished the set off with his two most recent and possibly well known tracks ‘Cartoons & Cereal’ the introspective hood banger featuring Gunaply which almost caused me to crowdsurf, if I had been pulled up, no-one obliged and the Dr.Dre assisted track ‘The Recipe’ which got the whole crowd swaying, jumping and rapping all in one go.
Lasting barely an hour it was a very short set, the one thing I would detract concert points from Kendrick for, people were waiting a long time for his entrance and could have done with hearing some of the other hits from Section.80, specifically ‘Tammy’s Song’ and ‘Kush & Corinthians’, poor move on that part but what can you do.
Kendrick Lamar held the crowds attention and applause for the whole set, it was a night I think every single member of the audience will remember and defining moment in a breakout year for the young MC whose continual rise to fame is one of Hip hop’s best stories of the last 5 years. I was a little in awe of his ability to hold the crowd and with his album ‘Good Kid in A Mad City’ due out on October 2nd it seems this wont be the last time I check out Kendrick Lamar over in my town again.