Kendrick Lamar Played A Surprise Show To Less Than 400 People In Brooklyn Last Night [Review/Videos]

first_imgThree days ago, Kendrick Lamar posted a mysterious teaser video that saw him hint at a 12/16 date in Brooklyn with American Express. The next morning, Billboard revealed that the seven-time Grammy Award winner and master of all things Hip-Hop would be performing a secret show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg the following day. The show sold out immediately.Lamar’s partnership with AmEx comes at the end of another hugely successful year for the rap phenomenon, who won five out of eleven nominations at this year’s Grammy Awards for To Pimp A Butterfly, coming after two wins for good kid, m.A.A.d city. The Compton native made even bigger strides in his fame when he released untitled unmastered. earlier this year documenting a collection of unreleased demos that originated during the Butterfly recording sessions. This album came in the middle of the night with no title, no artwork, no song names, completely untouched. It was a brilliant masterpiece from the bottom up.So when news broke that one of the most prolific artists in Hip-Hop would be playing a small venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, people freaked. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play for a room like this,” he said, after a rip-roaring “Levitate” to open up the one-set performance. The Wesley Theory was tight, with a simple set up for drums, bass, guitar, and keys. In a career-spanning setlist, every song felt like the anthem for the night. From the early day’s “A.D.H.D” and “Swimming Pool (Drank) to “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” to his newer, universally acclaimed hits like “King Kunta”, “Alright”, and songs off the untitled unmastered. Every single person in that room had a moment with themselves. I’d estimate less than 300 people were lucky enough to stand before King Kendrick during this intimate performance. The stage was built further out than normal at the 550-cap room, and production staff took up half the banisters in all four corners. The entire show was filmed, with over 35 minutes of it shared through Kendrick’s Facebook Live.The music was for everyone, drawing from jazz, funk, soul, and spoken word. As he mentions in the beginning clip of the Facebook Live video, Kendrick often incorporates freestyle in his rap verses. We all watched with eyes wide open as he’d lock in to certain people in the crowd and go against the recorded lyrics. It was pure and heavy art, music, and improvisation.Toward the end of his set, that we wished would last forever, the master went against the script and invited fans to the stage to freestyle over beats made by the band. At random, he picked three people to join him and his band. The first person did not do well, and was consequently booed off the stage. The second person did a fantastic job, going back and forth with Kendrick like a real pro. It was obvious that his dreams were coming true before us all, and for that he earned enormous applause. The third person went a cappella, digging deep into the poetic field of dark, political topics that Kendrick is so well known to explore in his own music; his name is Kemba and can be found on YouTube. All three of these performances are also included in the Facebook Live performance below.Kendrick Lamar closed the night with “i”, which won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. From beginning to end, the performance was a testament to the truth. Closing out what seems to be one of the most confusing, ratchet years of our lifetime, Kendrick continuously uses his spotlight to open the doors to conversations of social grievances and political impurities. His ability to unabashedly confront these issues with such profound modes of artistic expression is a revitalizing reality that demands reprise. 2017 will inevitably bring a revolution in musical messages as we face big changes in our country’s morale. When art imitates life, in these tumultuous times, we should all be sure to consume it. It certainly helps with the taste.Watch the set-closing “i” below, as shot by myself:Watch “Swimming Pool (Drank)” into “m.A.A.d city”:[photo via Instagram user @jnsilva]last_img

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