When Kendrick Lamar release his much anticipated 4th studio album DAMN. I planned on writing an album review to share my thoughts and how much I enjoyed what I believe to be his finest project to date, but I have something different in mind because of what I was able to experience. Last week I was able to experience an event that some people weren’t fortunate to attend (because they like to save their money) and I witnessed a moment that will go down in the lore of Hip-Hop history. I was fortunate enough to attend the 2nd week of the Coachella Music Festival whose final day headliner was none other than Kendrick Lamar and what 100 thousand people and I witnessed was the Coronation of a King.
Over the past two months Hip-Hop’s number 1 and number 2 artists, Drake and Kendrick Lamar released two projects both to much fan fare, and whichever one you consider 1 or 2 fluctuates on projects, hype, and personals views. The Millennials version of the Biggie and Pac rivalry has become more and more rampant over the past couple of years through evident animosity and more subliminal shot than we can count. While I believe with the release of More Life, a project I did a full review on and believe is Drake’s best project since Take Care and critics agree, but fans have their own thoughts on it solidified his stature as the hottest Hip-Hop artist. That was my thinking until just a few week later Kendrick releases DAMN. and the world realized who was King.
When DAMN. was released it seemed as though that every project released this year was subsequently forgotten in a matter of seconds, and seeing how twitter hypes up albums no matter how good a project or how long it has been consumed by the consumer. But with Kendrick Lamar the track record is impeccable from good kid, m.A.A.d city to To Pimp a Butterfly to Untitled Unmastered we seen the rise of a kid from Compton to arguably the best rapper alive and a rapper who will ultimately end up as a top 5 MC. But up until this past week there was always some wiggle room where you can make an argument for other rappers considered the King of Hip-Hop, and until last week Kendrick always seemed to receive some backlash for being a self-proclaimed King, now it is a near unanimous agreement that King Kendrick is the true King.
Saturday April 24th was the day that Hip-Hop’s hottest artist was going to take the main stage of one of the biggest music festivals in the world and during a weekend where a whole festival was a buzz and anticipating him taking the stage. After coming off of a week where his album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 by moving 603,000 album-equivalent units and having his first solo number one hit with his single “Humble” you got a sense that you were in for something special and there was no way I was going to miss the this once in a life time opportunity. This led me to camping out over 7 hours in order to view a historic performance that will surely be a once in a lifetime moment.
Performing under his new Kung Fu Kenny persona while doing a martial art themed, Bruce Lee compared set that included many hits from past to present. The first weekend performance was full of guest spots including ScHoolboy Q, Travis Scott, and even Future, but weekend two was a whole different story when the stage was set and spotlight was only on one man. I found it very fitting that his performance was a solo one, because that was all he needed, the world was a buzz by the masterpiece he had created and the musical feats achieved and the time was his. The Coronation of a King was now and the electricity through the crowd and the level of noise and excitement could send enough shock waves to bring the dead back to life.
As he performed “DNA”, “Element”, “King Kunta” you can start to see how much he has his fans and the music world eating out of the palm of his hand. The experience of feeling the boom vibrations through the speakers and the constant moving of bodies added to the feeling that Kendrick is a wordsmith that encapsulates every ear through story telling. Kendrick even reached back into his deep, extensive catalog to bring the crowd back to the good kid, m.A.A.d city days with “Backseat Freestyle”, “m.A.A.d city”, and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, which showed that things have been the same for the past half decade.
You got a feeling there would have been guests appearing when songs like “Collard Greens” and “Goosebumps” start to play, but a man known for taking the spotlight from who song it is he is featured on added those songs to his one man show. By the time he reached his number one hit “Humble” the crowd was exhausted by the sheer excitement and flow of emotions that this legendary performance invoked. After coming back for and encore performance of “Love” by the time it was over seeing him standing under the white spotlight, wearing a heavenly white jumpsuit as a musical savior you knew you had witnessed something special.
Saturday April 24th, Indio, California the coronation of a King took place and the mantra of best rapper alive had a new and legitimate title holder. Kendrick Lamar took his place in the annals of Hip-Hop history and by now there should be no argument about who is the number rapper on the face of this earth, but this is Hip-Hop and there will always be argument and competition for that crown Kendrick now has. It should be fun to see how things play out in the next couple to see who will compete for 2nd place until Kendrick is ready to relinquish his top spot.
BONUS: DAMN. Album Review!
Here’s a quick synopsis of Kendrick’s fourth studio album. Hit song, conspiracy theory, hit song, conspiracy theory, Rihanna, conspiracy theory, hit, hit, hit, Bitch Be HUMBLE, conspiracy theory, backwards music, hit, Legendary Album.
1st Perfect Score