Arguably the greatest rapper alive, Kendrick Lamar’s first UK arena tour came to the o2 this week, captivating the audience from start to finish. The show opened with, quite literally, a bang, as the Compton rap giant exploded onto the stage shortly after his iconic DNA introduction, reminding Fox news anchorman Geraldo Rivera what he has gotten himself into.
What made this performance so special was the fact that Kendrick had the crowd in his palm throughout, so much so that he could stand there in all his glory as the crowd recited the entirety of ‘Humble’ like some sort of biblical scripture. Dressed head-to-toe in all white, there was certainly a spiritual link… not mentioning anyone in particular.
His sheer stage presence allowed him to stand alone, bar the few appearances of a masked ninja and a superb hidden live band, but this only added to the level of intensity. Unlike other rap acts, Kendrick was able to achieve the perfect balance of a God-like stature and a humble, down-to-earth human – if you’ll excuse the puns.
As if this wasn’t enough, he also got creative with a contraption that made it look like he was levitating, before raising from the floor in the middle of the crowd in a decorated cage. Transitioning from crouching down to the crowd to perform ‘Lust’ to raising above imprisonment, he returned to the iconic ‘Good kid m.A.A.d city’ with ‘B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and also revisited ‘Back Seat Freestyle’ in the show, showing that he has not forgotten where he came from. The setlist certainly pleased everyone.
But, despite all of this, it was Kendrick’s vocal performance that really stood out, conveying his voice through the mic with as much clarity as, dare I say, Jay Z, whilst hitting difficult high notes, such as on ‘Lust’ and Travis Scott’s ‘Goosebumps’, that even many pop stars would avoid on stage.
All in all, there isn’t anything you can say to do this show justice. Just see this man as soon as possible.