Review: Kendrick Lamar (Atlanta, GA)
There is no denying Kendrick Lamar and The Wesley Theory. Every album he’s released has been instant magic. His style, his flow, his lyrical content, the grooves he’s rhymed over, and just everything. His explosion on the scene started with the incredible Overly Dedicated which was his warning shot, then Section.80 was the loud gunshot in the crowd proving that it wasn’t a fluke, followed by the award winning good kid, m.A.A.d city which further proved he was just getting major traction and then the release of To Pimp A Butterfly earlier this year was the nuclear explosion heard around the world.
One thing you can’t deny is that Dr. Dre knows how to spot major talent and Kendrick Lamar is the absolute real deal. So how do you further separate him from the virtual ocean of hip-hop artists? You start by putting him out on tour to showcase his talent and then back him up with a collection of some of the most talented music artists on the planet instead of the standard (and more cost effective) DJ.
Such is the tour called Kunta’s Groove Sessions which features Kendrick Lamar with his band The Wesley Theory and opening act Jay Rock. It’s an intimate 8 show tour that Atlanta was blessed enough to be included on.
Opening act Jay Rock brought the standard hip hop performance you would expect, but Kendrick added him to the bill if for no other reason because Jay Rock lives and breathes by the same consciousness and delivers the same messages as Lamar. Focusing on racial tensions and the unfortunate ignorance of the general public who are misinformed by the forces that be and have far too much control in steering the future.
Jay Rock performed for about 30 minutes to support his new release 90059, but made no effort to upstage Kendrick as his opening act and sat comfortably back in the passenger seat as a perfectly able artist and delivered an expert flow. And in the process gained a lot of new fans who got to see his work up close and personal.
Kendrick Lamar hit the stage shortly after 10pm backed by a roster of prolific musicians and a sold out crowd of well over 2000 at The Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta. The band started first performing an instrumental cover of Earth, Wind and Fire’s Can’t Hide Love briefly. Then Kendrick came onto the stage and sat on a white couch that was positioned center stage.
He played with the audience for a couple of minutes approaching the mike and then going back to the couch without uttering a word before finally breaking the silence and starting the show with For Free? (“This d*ck ain’t free”).
What proceeded afterwards was a literal onslaught of music lasting over an hour and a half and covering To Pimp A Butterfly in its entirety with exception to You Ain’t Gotta Lie. He also managed to get in the fan favorites from good kid, m.A.A.d city including Swimming Pool (Drank), Backseat Freestyle, Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, Money Trees, and M.A.A.d city.
The energy was for lack of a better term “off the chain” with a majority of the crowd on the floor singing and bouncing for the entire show. The band collectively put together a very well rehearsed structured show that didn’t lend itself well to much off the cuff performance off ramps, but in a show that is as tight as this was, it certainly wasn’t missed.
Lamar has proven that even with a majority of his show being from his newest album, that his impact on his fans is impactful since his audience sang along to every song from an album that’s not even 8 months old. It was next to impossible to not get swept up with the high energy of the show in both performance and audience participation.
Kendrick announced several times during the night that this particular version of this tour would not be replicated and was an exclusive type of event that would be the “livest and loudest event you’ve ever heard”. And in no stretch of the imagination did he sway from that promise.
The end result? An absolutely incredible live music full band hip hop extravaganza that can’t be rivaled by any hip hop act on the road right now. None. Easily the best show we’ve seen this year and so spiritually fulfilling that if Kendrick Lamar + The Wesley Theory are anywhere within 100 miles of where you are, get in your car and get there immediately.
We’re giving Kendrick Lamar’s tour, Kunta’s Groove Sessions with his band The Wesley Theory a firmly and well deserved 5 out 5 afro award.
Can’t Hide Love Instrumental Intro (Earth Wind and Fire Cover)
Swimming Pools (Drank)
hard rock segue
Complexion (A Zulu Love)
Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe
Can’t Hide Love Instrumental Segue (Earth Wind and Fire Cover)
How Much a Dollar Cost
The Blacker The Berry
crowd noise and chants
Every Ni**er Is A Star outro