Kendrick Lamar's "DNA." Wouldn't Exist Without This 35-Year-Old Rick James Performance
By now, you have surely gone through Kendrick Lamar‘s recently-released DAMN. album more than once. Each listen presents something that you probably did not notice the first time around, Kendrick’s lyrical narratives needing multiple listens to try to understand.
The same goes for the samples present throughout the release, with the most notable one popping up in the second half of “DNA.” “Gimme some ganja,” the sample screams alongside booming 808 bass. Well, turns out that sample is taken from a live concert in Germany that Rick James performed back on April 3, 1982.
The concert was immortalized in the Rick James Super Freak Live 1982 DVD released in 2005, which captured James’ first-ever European performance at Grugahalle in Essen, Germany, for the Rockpalast television show.
The concert featured all the hits but as you can see in the video below, right before James and his backing band kicks into “Mary Jane,” the artist declares “Gimme some ganja!”
The timing is important, considering this concert just had its 35th anniversary.
We recently offered our thoughts on DAMN., with our very own Kevin Clark writing:
“All in all, DAMN. is a damn good showing from the good kid from Compton, California. It has been apparent since Overly Dedicated that Kendrick Lamar is dedicated to giving us experiences that we’ll never forget. A master storyteller, an exacting architect able to give you just the right balance of context and drama that keeps the listener on the edge of their seats — DAMN. is one of the few artists who make this review type hard. Why, you ask? From the shocking intro to the twists and turns throughout, Kendrick makes you want to hit the rewind button.”
In honor of 4/20 and Kung Fu Kenny, check out the video of James performing “Mary Jane.” After all, without it, we would not have the banger that is “DNA.”