By Dashaun Simmons
When some people think of a Baptist church, visions of pews, organs, and a choir come to mind. One key element to that scene is a person channeling energy from the heavens filling the room with spirit. Anyone in attendance for Kendrick Lamar’s sold out SOB’s performance in NY will tell you, he did just that. This Hiiipower congregation had to wait for hours through four opening acts to get to the main event. The acts overall did a good job keeping the crowd’s attention. The high point of the pre-game was when Queens rapper Trav (who was struggling with his set) brought out Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana for support. Their performance of Beemer, Benz or Bentley gave the perfect ally opp for Kendrick to smash.
Once Kendrick took the stage he wasted little time before running into F*ck Your Ethnicity (off the critically acclaimed Section 80 album) sending the crowd into a frenzy. At one point you could barely hear his lyrics because so many people were rapping along to the song. Without much effort he would have everyone’s hands reaching for the sky as if they were testifying. Here was the next great hope for West Coast hip hop (according to Game and Snoop) standing in front of a sold out NY crowd, and they were eating it up.
Every time Kendrick would start a song, the crowd would go crazy. It’s as if every record was his “hit”. Songs from his Overly Dedicated mixtape also garnered heavy response. Ignorance Is Bliss led everyone in a synchronized lean, while Alien Girl gave one young lady a huge smile in the audience. When Michael Jordan dropped, a renewed energy filled with room with people bouncing off of each other all in the name of love. Kendrick expressed many times in between songs that he’s just doing what he knows and representing his hometown of Compton. It was amazing to watch a man of such small stature completely command the room. A treat was given when he let a little of the Rigamortis remix play which features Busta Rhymes. Any moment that wasn’t filled with music was met with a fan yelling which song he should do next. As time went on you could feel the tension of people fearing their favorite song would get overlooked. At one point Kendrick told them to take their requests to twitter.
As he finished the amazing set with the J.Cole produced song Hiiipower, it seemed as if Kendrick had finally run out of steam. He spit only the first verse opting instead to leave on a different note. “Tonight was for everybody here who understand me/I need yall to recognize my plan B is to win your heart before I win a Grammy.” Seems like plan B is done. Amen!
See footage from Kendrick Lamar’s amazing SOB’s performance HERE!