July 24, 2017
Kendrick Lamar played Barclays Center
King Kendrick was an astounding presence for his second sold-out night in Brooklyn. Riding high off his latest release, the most critically acclaimed record of the year (so-far), the DAMN. tour was a non-stop high of epic proportions.
Igniting the night with "DNA.", Kendrick grabbed hold of the crowd and kept the momentum at full speed for the entirety of the show. He was in control of the audience from the second the lights went dark and for an hour and a half, he never once stepped off the gas. Scored by a Kung-Fu film, the show also featured ninjas at various times throughout the show, but otherwise Kendrick was the lone figure on stage. The minimalist approach was bold, but with a catalogue as resonant and massive as K-Dot's, there was no taking the spotlight off of him. Each song was hit after hit, somehow each feeling more powerful than the one before it. The setlist was mostly comprised of his recent work and the classics from good kid, m.A.A.d city with only a few from his astounding To Pimp a Butterfly and nothing from Section.80 or prior. It was clear he was focused on total domination and stuck to pleasing the crowd. In the middle of his set, he rose from the center of the arena floor in a sparkling tower flexing his dexterity and his ability to make such a giant space feel intimate. In such a short time, Kendrick has risen to the rank of the number one rapper in the world. His releases are untouchable and everything he puts up becomes a sensation. Watching his work come to life with such vigor is unlike much else. He's a powerful force on record and he holds back nothing while somehow giving even more heart and soul when in front of a crowd. He never stalled and kept his words between songs to a minimum. He spit fire and lead the masses in mighty chants that echoed throughout the venue. To crush it even further, 2 Chainz and Travis Scott joined Lamar on stage for "4 AM" and Scott hung around to do their stand-out collab "Goosebumps" which might have been the emotional peak of the evening. Closing his set with the triumphant run of "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe," "Alright," and "HUMBLE." was one for the ages as the arena erupted in a craze, somehow heightening the call and response reaction that had already been set to monolithic levels. After "HUMBLE." began, Kenny paused to let the audience take over the full verse in perfect unison to unleash what was truly an unforgettable moment. After a quick smile for a larger-than-life moment, he then launched right back into the song from the beginning, kicking it up for a final blow-out showing. He returned for an encore of "GOD." which was a sweet and stellar sendoff from the best hip-hop show of the year.