Earlier this week, celebrated hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar performed songs off his latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, at a one-off concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra. Lamar was instantly at home, charismatically interacting and engaging with the audience in his trademark smooth style.
The above video shows Lamar performing “These Walls,” a beautifully complex song about all the real and philosophical obstacle in Kendrick’s life. But in the middle of the song, Lamar pauses to tell the audience, “as I look around I see so many beautiful people out here right now, beautiful women, beautiful couples.” Can you feel the audience melting?
Below is Lamar performing “King Kunta.” This song is artfully matter-of-fact” “I got a bone to pick, I don’t want you monkey mouth motherfuckers sitting’ in my throne again… Now I run the game, got the whole world talkin’.” Lamar gets the audience up on their feet for this one, even the musicians are bopping around! The bold statement of this song makes it a standout from the album, and the orchestra elevates it to a whole new level.
And just when you thought we were done, here’s Lamar performing “i”. This is the song that he recently won two Grammy Awards for–so it’s up there with the best. The song is about inspiring positive change after growing up in the rough neighborhood of Compton.
What do you think of Lamar’s performances with the National Symphony Orchestra? Should he do it more often? Sound off in the comments below.