There's something about Kendrick Lamar. The Compton MC and self-proclaimed good kid doesn't drape himself in expensive jewels, drink out of styrofoam cups or exude any of today's trendy rapisms, but the TDE MC still attracted droves of fans to a pair jam-packed shows at Roseland Ballroom on Tuesday night.
After taping a performance for "Late Show with David Letterman," the 25-year-old breakout star crossed Broadway to put on two back-to-back shows at the famed venue which houses roughly 3,200 people at a time. The first set was a more intimate affair, while the second turned into a full-on party that counted 50 Cent and A$AP Rocky as its star-studded guests.
Before Dot took the stage at around 8 p.m., his DJ and in-studio mix expert Ali played the calming intro to Kendrick's "The Art of Peer Pressure." The crowd, which was crammed all the way back to the ballroom's mixing board, sang along to the fitting tune harmonizing along with Lamar's vocal track which boasted "I'm with the homeys right now." And judging from the warm reception, the rapper was among friends.
After a resounding applause Kendrick stormed out to the Internet favorite "Westside, Right On Time." With expert crowd control and his gruffly textured voice Lamar commanded his set list, which slowly built up to selections from his almost-platinum debut LP good kid, m.A.A.d city. Before he even touched anything from the album, he dropped Section.80's "Hol' Up," Kendrick Lamar EP's "P&P" and Ab-Soul's "Terrorist Threats." By the time Dot hit GKMC, he hit it hard tearing through "Money Trees," "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" and album singles "Poetic Justice," "The Recipe" and "Swimming Pools."
There was plenty of backup from the entire Black Hippy crew as Ab, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q joined Kendrick onstage throughout the night, giving fans just enough of a taste of the west coast super group.
For the night's second show, Kendrick could've easily run through the same set, but for the late concert that was also streamed online, Lamar shared the stage with his "F---in' Problems" collaborator A$AP Rocky and 50 Cent, who marched out to his 2007 smash "I Get Money."
While the once unstoppable G-Unit juggernaut drew a most-spirited reaction, it was clear that no one would outshine Kendrick Lamar on his stage — not on this night. There was no rap flash or blingy pizazz; there were even a few moments where he would briefly lose his vocal footing, spitting his wordy raps. But even Kendrick Lamar's imperfections came across perfect for the waves of rap fans who clamored for a chance to party with the good kid, in their own mad city.
What was your favorite Kendrick Lamar performance? Let us know in the comments!