Grammy award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar stands silently mid-stage while an eager crowd of thousands chants “Sit down, be humble,” the chorus to Lamar’s hit “HUMBLE.”
On Aug. 16, Lamar took the stage at the Sprint Center to perform the 21st show in his “DAMN.” tour. Tickets in hand, my friends and I showed up an hour before the concert so we wouldn’t miss opening acts D.R.A.M. and YG, who both charged up the crowd with their performances of “Broccoli” and “FDT”. As soon as YG left the stage and a huge banner donning “The DAMN. Tour” fell across the front of the arena, I knew the “real” performance was yet to come.
Lamar teased his crowd with a short video criticizing hip hop played on the screen behind the stage. This video was amazing; it showed that Lamar stands for not caring about what people think of him. As the video ended a huge explosion of fire rocked the stage as Lamar appeared through billows of smoke, reciting the words to his famous song “DNA.” I could feel the floor shaking beneath me as the crowd rose to their feet to cheer on one of the greatest rappers of this generation.
Each song performed had an impressive draw to it, whether it was the slow, chilling vibe of “Swimming Pools”, or the fun, funky sound he brought to the table on “King Kunta.” But one song in particular stood out: Lamar’s iconic “m.A.A.d. city.” Everyone from the rafters to the floor knew every line, including the guy next to me who violently yelled “YAWK YAWK YAWK YAWK” in my ear every chance he got. Though my face was covered in spit, the environment from this particular crowd was something I’ve never experienced before.
About halfway through the show, Lamar disappeared behind the dark black curtains at the back of the stage. He emerged ten minutes later from a tunnel in the side of the Sprint Center, racing to a smaller stage in the middle of the arena; he moved as quickly as possible so fans’ reaching hands, including mine, didn’t rip him to shreds. Standing five feet away from the smaller stage, I was able to witness K-Dot at his finest. I even made eye contact with Lamar as he climbed onto the tiny platform, almost as if I was hyping him up. The moment showed me how connected Lamar is to his fans.
Lamar finished his set list for the night, thanked the audience and went backstage. Feeling fulfilled with Kendrick’s performance I was ready to make my way to the exit, but for some reason the lights didn’t turn on. As seas of people walked up and down the aisles to leave the stadium, a small dim light turned on at the bottom of the main stage. Suddenly a loud burst of fiery explosives came out from the front atop the main stage. Lamar appeared back on stage asking “Can we do one more?” It was legendary. Lamar performed “GOD,” one of the most underrated songs he has written. This song describes how grateful Lamar is to his fans, making him feel as if he was a god. After he finished, Lamar thanked Kansas City, his crowd, and said goodnight.
The lights turned on this time.