Kendrick Lamar

Photo by Greg Noire

Kendrick Lamar’s Schottenstein Center show’s futuristic art-film introduction led into a Stevie Wonder warmness which explored the Diaspora of entertainment, human experience and culture during Kendrick’s complete captivating performance.

A series of dancers entered a catwalk which in flesh form and mimed Lamar’s Big Steppers album namesake.

After the first of a series of large square objects accompanied this waltz, next unveiled the Compton performers’ entrance of rapping from a piano the song “United in Grief” from Kendrick’s newest album which explores the layers of traumas our society inflicts on itself.

Whether it’s racism or basic human mistakes…

Kendrick performed “N95,” “Element,” then “Worldwide Stepper’s.”

I was impressed with the Terry Gilliam-meets-Dave Hammons opulence.

The second I had fallen into field trip to museum zone… Kendrick returned us to the Compton beaches by nailing “Backseat Freestyle” in which the stacked Schott erupted with glee after being seduced with the cerebral build-up.

“Backseat Freestyle” extols Hip Hop celebration of sexual prowess.

“Backseat Freestyle” boomed over Value City Arena’s Speakers.

The Schott kept partying with “Humble,” “Father Time,” and “Good Kid M.A.A.D City.”

“Good City” asks in deep, haunting voice: “Where You From..”

My brain’s nostalgia spliced watching Kendrick @ Skully’s around the time Lamar toured with Columbus’ Fly Union, and my L.A. upbringing which knows Kendrick’s songs are referencing California’s W.C. and the MAAD Circle over an Ice Cube interpolation.

This led into a snippet of “We Cry Together” which depicts couple arguing and then having sex.

A series of images which looked from the school of Kara Walker appeared above the stages. New York-based artist Kara Walker is known for her candid investigation of race, gender, sexuality, and violence through silhouetted figures.

Kendrick performed career-spanning “Purple Hearts,” “King Kunta,” “Loyalty,” “Swimming Pools,” and “Don’t Kill My Vibe” in front of Kara’s simple summary of Kendrick’s latest opus.

Kendrick Lamar’s Schottenstein Center’s show solidified my beliefs in the following:

  1. Arena Rap is the most vibrant form of Hip Hop in 2022. Tyler, the Creator’s headlining tour, and Run The Jewels support of Rage Against The Machine back up the ideas.
  2. Kendrick Lamar entered a realm where it appears on artistic, political, and emotional Radiohead albums are only made by Hip Hop artists in 2022.

Kendrick rapped “Lust” from something which was either a death bed, or a hospital bed while dancers hovered which reminded everyone why Kendrick earned 2018 Pulitzer Prize for “Damn” during a time which in Resistance seemed imperative.

Kendrick arose from the bed with a new life to rock “DNA.”

Kendrick and his dancers pranced to the other side of Schottenstein Center which set up a Covid skit. Kendrick tested positive for COVID while I walked to the bathroom and urinated with a bunch of police officers.

I doubt if Kendrick planned this but somehow I found it strange I was having a stoic moment with po-po.

I returned to find Kendrick rapping in isolation from an elevated box filled with smoke.

Kendrick rapped “Mirrors” and “Silent Hill.”

I felt ‘this is weird’… I just pissed in a room full of cops and returned to Kendrick Lamar rapping from an elevated box. This fear dissipated in an instant as Kendrick brought out PG Lang’s artist Baby Keem who returned us back to street-hop by performing “Family Ties” which made made me forget that I had just spent three minutes in a room full of police officers in the middle of a rap concert.

This was a boisterous hip hop moment which showed Baby Keem could captivate a room.

Kids were moshing while bass pounded. The room went from art film to mosh pit in a few minutes

Kendrick returned to his piano and finished with “Crown,” “Mr. Morale” and “Savior.”

“Savior” informs everyone Kendrick’s can rap into microphone in front of images but Kendrick is a human.

Kendrick spoke with precision while discussing personal feelings in regards to interacting with people who need villains to become heroes with the other subjects. “Savior” won’t disappoint anyone that knew Kendrick deserved a Pulitzer Peace Prize.

Kendrick’s wining album, “Damn” looked at Trump’s America from post-gangsta rap Kenny Power’s perspective which understood reaching the forgotten can change everything.

In 2018, Kendrick might have won a Pulitzer but Kendrick is a human.

Kendrick isn’t your savior.

Kendrick once asked us, “Where you from?”

I will answer the question: If Kendrick doesn’t have a savior complex then why is Kendrick’s message so vibrant with a mass of people who need important art?

Kendrick possesses 2pac’s Black Panther proletariat humanity which encompasses political essence with an understanding that Kanye West showed us a Portrait of A Young Man As a Funded Contemporary Artist in Hip Hop form.

At first we knew, Kendrick Lamar as the latest king in the Aftermath saga following Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Marshall Mathers. Kendrick’s 2022 resembles Dr. Dre meets Bruce Springsteen if you want a look at Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope legacies’ result of finding a productive result after Death Row imploded with the death of 2pac.

Resolution isn’t boring. It’s ending generations of trauma for a new beginning of progression.

“Born in the USA” was about Vietnam. No one wants to return to Vietnam for the sake of drama. Rap music offers a transcendence which could deliver escape from the turmoils humans inflict upon each other.

Kendrick Lamar’s exploration into our societies’ layers which affect everyone, left us with the conclusion Kendrick Lamar doesn’t think a bulk of dramas are necessary if the results are a personal and public Vietnam from the need of constant power struggle.

Kendrick doesn’t recommend co-dependent drama so he can feel important.

Kendrick can rap in front of 20,000 people at the Schottenstein Center if he wants to feel part of something.

Finding resolution after examining trauma isn’t a bad look even if the resolution appears in an arena