Kendrick Lamar?s performance turned out to be a huge surprise for everyone present there.
In the middle of his performance, before playing his final song on Tuesday evening, Kendrick Lamar asked the sold-out auditorium in Washington, D.C.?s Kennedy Center for a moment of silence and said, From Compton to Congress, set-trippin all around? ripped people out of their seats. The line from ?Hood Politics? had a natural resonance with a Washington, D.C. crowd.?
According to Think Progress, The event deflated the false division between the high-brow symphonics that are stereotypically the domain of wealthy old white people and the street-level pop of black youth. It?s the same thing Lamar?s been doing throughout his transformation from underground buzz kid to force of nature.
However, this was not a political gesture. He wanted everyone to ?feel the energy in the room,? which they did, at least until someone in the balcony seats yelled, ?Vibe!? and killed, yes, the vibe.
According to The Atlantic, when it was announced a month ago that Lamar would perform selections from his new album To Pimp a B utterfly in a one-off show with the National Symphony Orchestra, it sounded a bit like it was meant to be a cultural-credibility exchange: Hip-hop revealed as highbrow, classical revealed as popular, and everyone claps politely at the end. This framework did not turn out to be very helpful?there was nothing polite, nothing theoretical, about the concert. Backed by the dozens of symphony players and his own funk-rock band in front of an audience that seemed mostly filled with ecstatic fans, Lamar?s music gained a crowd-pleasing intensity that?s often only hinted at on his albums.
According to Billboard, Kendrick?s evolution as a performer was also on display during the hour-and-15-minute long set. His vocal control, maybe his most notable characteristic as an MC, has only improved with time — he?s surpassed questions of technique and has no interest in relying on crutches or shtick, hence his plain and direct performance style.
What’s next after this? Can a J Cole album be somewhere in the line? Well after hip-hop and classical in one awesome concert, anything is possible.