By Rob Markman
Kendrick Lamar didn’t need a hypeman to back him up when he performed at SOB’s in New York City on Wednesday night—mostly because of his expert breath control, but also because the crowd seemed to know every word to every song.
K. Dot opened before a sold-out crowd with “F— Your Ethnicity,” from his recently released Section.80 LP. Funny how a such polarizing song brought the crowd together as they sang along to the track’s hook spitting: “I don’t give a f— if you Black, White, Asian, His-panic, G– Damnit… F— your ethnicity n—a.” From there the stage was set as the Compton, California MC ran through a gang of digitally-released fan-favorites.
Rocking his “Monster” freestyle as well as tracks from his trio of Internet albums (The Kendrick Lamar LP, Overly Dedicated and Section.80), K. Dot entertained throughout. Before his DJ dropped the jazzy instrumental for “A.D.H.D.” Lamar even played thespian, acting out a conversation between him and his dad. He would play both roles, adding a relatable narrative to the heartfelt song. The West Coast MC continued draw concertgoers in. With the cautionary “Tammy’s Song” he called out a female in the crowd rapping exclusively in her direction and then at one point solicited song requests via Twitter.
Songs like “Hol’ Up,” “P&P,” “The Spiteful Chant,” “Alien Girl” and “Blow My High” helped build for the show’s climax. Before Kendrick tore into his tongue-twisting “Rigamortus” his DJ mistakenly (but purposely) played the wrong version of the song, revealing a never before heard remix which features Busta Rhymes. After running through the original version of the song, Lamar then played Bussa Buss’ verse for the thirsty NY crowd who hung onto the Dungeon Dragon’s every word.
The kinetic “Michael Jordan” has proven to be a crowd-favorite during past shows and last night was no different. The crowd bounced up and down, singing along to the hook, “I’m too much for these n—-s; I’m three much for these hoes.” Playing into the crowd, a sweat-drenched K.Dot exited the stage, drawing an encore chant from the rowdy crowd who shouted his name until he came back.
“Everybody put three fingers in the air,” Kendrick instructed before closing with his J.Cole-produced “HiiiPower.”
In the end Kendrick Lamar proved that his MC abilities stretch further than the recording booth, he can move crowds too!