August 7, 2022

Kendrick Lamar played Barclays Center (Night 2)

Kendrick Lamar brought his Mr Morale and the Big Steppers Tour to Brooklyn for one of the hottest parties of the weekend.

It's no doubt that Kendrick's return has been one of the major music moments of the year. Five years after his last album DAMN, Lamar is back with the polarizing and dividing Mr Morale and the Big Steppers, a double-album full of high risks and some of his most introspective messages and intimate views on his life we've heard yet. At his second show in Brooklyn's Barclays Center he delivered a hit-packed set spanning his epic career and reinforced that his reign as King Kendrick is still firmly in place. A massive empty stage and long runway dominated the floor of the arena and at times minimal pieces of furniture would be placed on stage, but the majority of the set it was just Kendrick running the stage with occasional help from additional dancers who added to the moment in all the right places and never stole the spotlight away from the man of the hour. While his new tracks anchored the majority of the night, it was old favorites that really sent the crowd over the edge. "ELEMENT" was an early smash that that really got the crowd hyped and when Kdot got behind a piano to mash out the riff to "HUMBLE," the place nearly erupted. The floor looked like pure chaos as they bounced in rhythm with Kendrick's sharp, percussive beats and cheered as he made his way up and down the runway. "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" was another sensational number that made the building come alive. Towards the end of the night, he made his way to the middle of the arena and a glass cube came over him as he and four people in hazmat suits simulated a COVID test and isolation. As those in the hazmat suits exited, Lamar remained and the cube rose high in the air, elevating Kendrick to literally new heights, putting him dead center and allowing him to control the crowd with awe-inspiring power. "Alright" hit like the anthem that it is and was without question the most unifying moment of the night. His flow was impeccable all night and confirmed his role as the biggest and best rapper on the planet. Chants of his name broke out between nearly every song and it was clear he looked touched by such a massive response. A voice of the people, a Kendrick show brings together so many people and watching him deliver such a stunning set proved his ability to crossover beyond rap and into the top of the music game in general. Bringing out his cousin, and show opener, Baby Keems to unleash "Family Ties" complete with blazing pyrotechnics behind them was the moment of the night, the arena absolutely roaring with excitement as soon as Keems revealed himself, and for sure the closest we got to a spectacle. The long-awaited return of Kendrick was well worth it, his creativity and showmanship as strong as ever and hearing the old classics mixed with the new joints proved his legacy. Even for those who are skeptical of the new album, it would be foolish to dismiss his live performance and skip out on this tour. No other rapper is operating at Kendrick's level and to see him bring it to a live setting is something special.

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