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Watch Kendrick Lamar’s Historic Kennedy Center Performance w/ The NSO [Video + Exclusive Recap!]

Watch Kendrick Lamar’s Historic Kennedy Center Performance w/ The NSO [Video + Exclusive Recap!]

Kendrick Lamar National Symphony Orchestra Square

“King Kunta”

Kendrick exuded a controlled, measured emotion that ratcheted up and down like the soaring crescendos of the NSO throughout the night. Then came Isley Brothers thump of “i”  followed by a groove tease of “How Much a Dollar Cost?”  and super hero music courtesy of the NSO in the form of “Blacker the Berry.”

Even with all of its dramatic effects,Kendrick’s raw, well paced emotion matched the intensity of the National symphony Orchestra as they launched into what could be called the “Robert Glasper-Layla Hathaway Outro” followed by “Mortal Man.” The NSO horns makes their presence felt here, the bass rumbling as it posted up, down, low in the paint like a bear! “The Ghost of Mandela / All my flows they propelling..” — the horns and strings made this so authentic.

Kendrick then launched an a capella blast in which he seemed to catch the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues. As he finished, he bid farewell. The crowd was electric, manic–and vocal, hearkening for an encore. Kendrick came back to deliver the knockout: “Alright.”


“See moments like this it why I made To Pimp a Butterfly. [It’s] about music people could connect to, could live their daily lives to. I went in on the first album but I did it times 10 on the second. Don’t clap for me this is your moment. Let’s have a moment of silence I want to feel the energy in the room.”

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The energy was clearly felt. This was one of the biggest most important hip-hop events that I have ever experienced in DC. A truly special moment in music! Earlier in the night, Kendrick pointed out:

“I think the last time that I was here [in DC] was for my mix tape Section 80…” – Kendrick Lamar

You’ve  come a long way, good kid.

Tour Dates:
10-20 Washington, DC – Kennedy Center
10-22 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
10-24 Columbus, OH – LC Pavilion
10-25 Chicago, IL – United Center
10-27 Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle *
10-29 Dallas, TX – South Side Music Hall *
11-01 Washington, DC – Lincoln Theatre *
11-02 New York, NY – Webster Hall *
11-03 Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero Theatre *
11-04 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues *
11-08 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
11-10 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater *

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