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Kendrick Lamar brings his intimate dance with good and evil to the stadium

ELEMENT.

A post shared by Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) on

In the fall of 2015, following the release of his critically-acclaimed, platinum-selling album To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar announced that he would bypass the round of huge, multi-city touring that would customarily follow such a successful project. While the decision to forgo a large stadium tour in the wake of Butterfly would have struck many as a misstep, the move was perfect.

Instead, Kendrick hit the road with a mini-tour, “Kunta’s Groove Sessions,” a quick and dirty, eight-city jaunt which found him pulling up on mid-sized theaters throughout the South and on both coasts. The purpose behind this choice was clear: To Pimp A Butterfly’s quirky, complex and jazz inflected hip hop songs required a level of intimacy and even physical proximity to the audience that would be difficult to reproduce in a 20,000 seat arena.

Much like Public Enemy’s Chuck D in the summer of 1988 or Jay-Z on 9/11, 2001, Kendrick Lamar had established himself as the pacesetter of the day. He was / is, the rapper with the loudest, most (culturally) resonant voice. In the months immediately following the reception of Butterfly, it was clear that in the minds of many that he was one of, if not the leading creative voice in mainstream hip-hop. A large part of his emergence as the mouthpiece of his generation has been his ability to relate his own personal fears, hopes and ambitions with those of his audience. Throughout his work, the notion of individual triumph and/or failure at the hands of forces larger than himself has remained a central component to his songs. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kendrick Lamar at Wells Fargo Center, Ages and Ages at Johnny Brenda’s

Kendrick Lamar | album cover via artist’s Facebook page

It’s Kendrick Lamar, people. I think that’s all that needs to be said in persuasion of the hip-hop king’s Wells Fargo Center show tonight. Not only will Kendrick be performing his acclaimed album DAMN., he’ll also be joined by a solid lineup of Travis Scott and D.R.A.M.. So be there or be square. Check out the latest video release from the album for “ELEMENT” below and get tickets and more information here. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Kendrick Lamar brings DAMN. to the Wells Fargo Center in July

Kendrick Lamar | via NPR Music

On the heels of his acclaimed fifth project DAMN., critically-acclaimed, Grammy-winning Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar announced a summer tour that with Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. that comes to the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 19th. Tickets are on sale this Friday, April 28th, at 9 a.m., and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Hail to the King: Kendrick Lamar Gets His Groove On at the Troc

Kendrick Lamar | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Kendrick Lamar | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

The Greek philospoher Plato had this idea he called the “Philosopher King.” Essentially, a philosopher would make an ideal ruler because of their commitment to a vision—to a cause. Tuesday night in Chinatown, I hailed my philosopher king. Clad in black sweatpants and sweatshirt rather than a toga, Kendrick Lamar waxed philosophical writ large, performing his stunning 2015 record To Pimp a Butterfly almost in its entirety. Continue reading →

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Spotify study reveals Penn students love Magic Man, hate Kendrick Lamar and sleep late

Kendrick Lamar | Photo by John Vettese
Kendrick Lamar is not a favorite of University of Pennsylvania students, according to Spotify  | Photo by John Vettese

Okay, number nerds, this is pretty interesting: Spotify this week released a study on “the most musical universities in America,” ranking schools based on amount of music listened overall and number of subscriptions at their student rate. The University of Pennsylvania ranked as the 34th most musical school in the country, and the school-specific breakdown provides an interesting snapshot of the West Philly ivy league institution’s listening habits. Continue reading →

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A dynamic duo: Listen to a new Flying Lotus song with Kendrick Lamar

Flying Lotus | Photo by Chris Lotten Photography |https://www.facebook.com/chrislottenphoto
Flying Lotus | Photo by Chris Lotten Photography | facebook.com/chrislottenphoto

Wondering what could top the work that rapper Kendrick Lamar set a high standard with on his last album, good kid, m.A.A.d city? Then look no further than this new Flying Lotus song, featuring Lamar, “Never Catch Me.” It’s from the forthcoming Flying Lotus album, You’re Dead out October 7th (Warp Records). Continue reading →

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Kendrick Lamar added to Kanye West show at Wells Fargo Center on November 16th

Kendrick Lamar | Photo by John Vettese
Kendrick Lamar at Made In American 2013 | Photo by John Vettese

This is going to be one amazing hip-hop show: Kendrick Lamar has been added as the opener to the Kanye West show on November 16th at the Wells Fargo Center. Go here for tickets. Last night, Lamar was on the BET hip-hop awards with ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Isaiah Rashad. Check out the video below (explicit language alert!)

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Watch Kendrick Lamar at Made In America

Photo by Kendrick Lamar
Photo by Kendrick Lamar
Rapper Kendrick Lamar performed an excellent and enthusiastic half-hour set on Sunday afternoon at Made In America. After a 15 minute set from his Top Dawg Entertainment pals Jay Rock, Black Hippy and Schoolboy Q, Lamar, came out wearing a white t-shirt and a black L.A. Dodgers cap. Backed by an absolutely top notch band, he opened with “Backseat Freestyle,” performed an exuberant version of “F— Problems,” “Money Trees,” “m.a.a.d.city,” and ended with a rousing rendition of “B- Don’t Kill My Vibe.” In the hot and humid mid-day, the crowd gave Lamar a welcome, fanatical reception and were treated one of the many highlights of the weekend. Watch Lamar’s set below. Go here for a complete Made In America recap.