Friday night was definitely a night to remember as Kendrick Lamar aka K.Dot and his Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) crew took the stage at the Howard Theatre for his BET Music Matters tour. This is the second time the Compton, Calif., artist graced Washington, D.C., with his lyricism, flow and style. The only word that can grasp the vibe of the K.Dot experience is “enchanting.”
Hosted by Howard University’s own Jae Murphy and DJ Chubb E. Swagg, the concert opened with Fly Union, an Ohio-based rap group. Even NBA superstar LeBron James, who is also from Ohio, made an appearance and showed his support by posting pictures of the concert on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
After the Fly Union act, Maybach Music artist Stalley mesmerized the crowd with the soothing melody of “Party Heart” as hands waved side to side. Then TDE artist Jay Rock hyped the crowd up with several hit singles. Fellow TDE artist Ab-Soul performed his hit single “Pineal Gland.”
As the time grew closer for Kendrick Lamar’s entrance, many fans began chanting his name and reciting song lyrics. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, hip-hop’s newest trailblazer emerged onto the stage. Opening his set with “F- – – Your Ethnicity,” Lamar engaged the crowd and united everyone despite their gender, race or ethnicity.
Lamar showed the magnitude of humility and appreciation that he has for his fans by thanking them repeatedly for coming out and showing love to everyone in the building. The crowd’s excitement peaked again once the rising star brought out fellow TDE member SchoolBoy Q to perform “Bet I Got Some Weed,” a song dedicated to the Black Hippie movement that’s sweeping the nation. Lamar performed a number of songs off his 2011 independent album, Section 80, including “Blow My High,” “Hol Up” and “The Spiteful Chant.”
Half way through the show, Lamar invited the audience to choose any song for him to perform. Fans screamed out so many songs that he decided to play one of his most challenging tracks, “Rigamortis.” Incredibly, they knew every word and mastered the difficult flow as if they personally wrote the song. Lamar tested their fan loyalty by playing songs from his classic mixtape, O.verly D.edicated, which dropped in 2010 before he emerged on the scene in early 2011.
Lamar even dropped a freestyle before performing “Cut You Off,” a track dedicated to shunning pessimistic people. Toward the end of his act, Lamar raffled away a pair of Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones to a fan who purchased TDE gear during the show.
After a flawless set, Lamar thanked his fans and abruptly walked off stage. It immediately seemed staged, because his disc jockey continued playing the instrumental to his hit record “Cartoon and Cereal.” Fans began walking away from the stage when Lamar unexpectedly bolted from backstage and performed a few verses from “Cartoon and Cereal.” Fans began trampling over each other to get a glimpse.
Lamar definitely proved that he has potential to be a legend if he stays consistent and continues to attract more fans through his extensive catalog. He’s already a contender with J. Cole, Jay-Z, Nas and Kanye West for Lyricist of the Year at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, which airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Live performances truly define an artist’s potential star power. There is no doubt that Lamar will be one of the greatest artists of all time and may one day deliver a performance as amazing as a Jay-Z concert at Madison Square Garden.
Marquis Mahoney covers music for 101Magazine.net.
K.Dot Goes West on Tour
Here are Kendrick Lamar’s concert dates on the BET Music Matters tour:
Oct. 8: The Ogden Theater in Denver
Oct. 13: Roseland Theatre in Portland, Ore.
Oct. 14: The Neptune in Seattle
Oct. 16: Regency in San Francisco
Oct. 17: Club Nokia in Los Angeles
Oct. 18: Fox Theater in Pomona, Calif.
Oct. 19: Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas