Kendrick Lamar’s agenda should be loud and clear at this point. When it comes to pushing hip-hop culture forward, K. Dot is doing all that he can to carry on the rich legacy that West Coast rap music has produced.
After releasing his fourth official album, DAMN. on Friday (April 14), Compton’s own headlined the closing night of Coachella 2017 (weekend 1) with a brand new stage show that included songs from his latest LP, special guests and martial arts themed visuals. The show began around 10:30 P.M. on Sunday night with Kung Fu Kenny kicking his way right into “DNA.,” track two from his new project.
He soon followed with “ELEMENT.,” which allowed the messiah to share his current inner-thoughts with the crowd. From DAMN’s torn—and sometimes contradicting—lyrics, Kendrick sounds like he’s still going through his own spiritual battle within (aren’t we all?). “I’m willing to die for this sh*t, I done cried for this sh*t,” raps Kendrick to kick-off the track. “Bi**h, all my grandmas dead, so ain’t nobody prayin’ for me.” These aren’t your average fast food raps, people.
It wasn’t all new jams that kept the evening flowing. Kendrick also strutted across the stage with his “King Kunta” dance and made the crowd “Levitate” one time. Things hit a higher note when Travi$ Scott unexpectedly joined the TDE rapper for their duet, “Goosebumps.” The multi-platinum artist also performed his “Don’t Kill My Vibe (Remix),” sans JAY Z, which turned into a sing-a-long. The guests kept rolling as ScHoolboy Q popped up to perform “That Part,” but the biggest surprise of the night was Future. To our astonishment, Kung Fu Kenny called on Hendrixx for a rendition of “Mask Off,” and he stayed onstage the entire time ad-libbing to the pro-drug song.
Between songs, video montages of Kung Fu Kenny in action filled the two jumbotrons crowding the stage. It was almost like a nod to RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan who introduced kung fu flicks and Far East slang to the rap game. However, further inspection tells us there is more to this new alter ego than karate chops and Chinese imagery—so stay tuned for more on the golden child’s transition from Cornrow Kenny to Kung Fu Kenny. In the meantime, let’s talk about Kendrick’s buttery R&B inspired tracks from DAMN. before we go.
After shaking the stage with bass from his Mike WiLL Made It-produced single, “HUMBLE.” things seemed to be coming to a close for the night. But a solid five minutes after the stage faded to black, K. Dot strolled back out to the sultry sounds of his new song “LOVE.” Though, we all know Kendrick is a one woman kind of man, fans don’t usually hear Mr. Duckworth let his romantic side spill onto his beats. Zacari takes care of the real crooning on the track, but when it came time to debut it in front of over 100,000 Coachella fans, Kendrick rode the wave like cupid’s top dawg to the cries of thousands of lovelorn ladies.
King Kendrick is back, y’all.