While hip-hop fans celebrated the life of Ol' Dirty Bastard this week with commemorative Instagram posts and memorial blogs, Kendrick Lamar gave a nod to the fallen rap legend with his spirited performance on yesterday's "Saturday Night Live."
Channeling the Wu-Tang rapper, Lamar took the stage with all-black contact lenses that blocked out the whites of his eyes and a half-braided head of hair to set the stage for his new single "i." The track, which promotes love of the self, got an extra layer of meaning on a night when ODB would've turned 45 years old had he not tragically died from a drug overdose 10 years earlier on November 13, 2004.
Lamar swayed his head back and forth and burst with spastic movements that recalled the Wu-Tang icon's most famous music videos, from "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" to "Brooklyn Zoo." Still, the good kid, m.A.A.d city rapper's homage was only a part of his show, as he managed to incorporate his own Compton Square Dance from his "i" video into his performance as well.
For his second set of the night, K-Dot paid homage to another MC, one with tons of life. Black Hippy's Jay Rock gave Kendrick his start by taking him on the road as his hype man, years before Lamar became the star he is today. So it was fitting to see Kendrick joined by his TDE labelmate on the televised stage.
Together, the California collaborators, along with singer Chantal, delivered "Pay For It," Rock's new single, which also serves as a backdrop for the new Beats By Dr. Dre ad.
“Rock always been big brother, Rock always had that ‘urrgh,’ Lamar told MTV News about Jay exactly one year ago, in November 2013. "So when we got on the mic with Rock, you already know what time it is. You gotta do what you gotta do, because he’s gonna smash it, and I’m glad that the world is finally recognizing it because he is a problem for sure.”