Kendrick Lamar put forth an epic performance with his closing headliner set at the U.K.’s Glastonbury Festival on Sunday (June 26). From triumph to reflection to rage, the rap star conjured a gamut of emotions out of the rabid crowd as he performed songs from his discography.
Two years after Lamar was announced as a performer for Glastonbury’s 50th-anniversary festival and the global peak of the COVID pandemic, Lamar finally hit the stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset, England. However, during the delay, the rapper released his latest studio album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, and performed key cuts throughout the evening.
Opening with “United in Grief” and ratcheting up the energy with “N95,” K. Dot ran through tracks from various periods of his career and harkening back to the Good Kid, M.A.A.D City joints “Money Trees,” “The Art of Peer Pressure,” and “Swimming Pools (Drank).” From there, the Compton native delved into his Pulitzer Prize-winning opus To Pimp a Butterfly, brought the funk with “King Kunta,” and reminded attendees and viewers streaming at home to be “Humble.” He also spoke power to the people with his social justice anthem “Alright.”
Performing on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, Kendrick, whose performance was devoid of any surprise guests, was joined onstage by various groups of background dancers throughout the night, including during his impassioned performance of “Savior,” a moment he used to take a political stance while chastising the powers that be.
Clad in a white shirt, black pants, and donning a diamond-encrusted crown of thorns on his head, Lamar addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a hot-button topic that has inspired protests and backlash against the new legislation.
“They judge you, they judge Christ. Godspeed for women’s rights,” Kendrick chants repeatedly as (what appears to be) blood trickles from his crown down onto his face and shirt before abruptly slamming down the microphone and exiting the stage. The momentum was unexpected, riveting, and powerful all at once, which has come to be considered standard fare whenever discussing any and all things related to the rap icon.
Watch Kendrick Lamar’s powerful performances of “Humble” and “Saviour” below.