Phwoar. It’s not often you get to see arguably the world’s biggest pop star, and the world’s foremost rapper, performing together. Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar have opened the 2016 BET Awards with a spectacular rendition of Freedom, from Beyonce’s groundbreaking album Lemonade.
The performance was completely unannounced, and the surprise only made it that much more exciting.
The video below shows red-lit smoke billowing throughout the crowd as women march through aisles. From the speakers comes a sample of Martin Luther King’s famous speech, aired to massive cheers as the camera follows the women up on stage. Freedom begins to dazzling strobe lights and explosive applause. You can soon see that the floor is actually covered in water, with Beyonce and her dancers walking through it and kicking it around, to incredible dramatic visual effect.
Male dancers soon join the females on stage, for an incredible tribal drum bridge, with the stomping, smoke, water and fire making for a powerful visual. Soon after, Lamar rises up on a platform in front, delivering his verse to even louder cheers. He later joins Beyonce and the dancers on the main stage.
Wow. Just wow. This has got to be one of the most dramatic award show performances in history.
Between Lemonade, Untitled unmastered and To Pimp A Butterfly, The pair have released some of the most important music of the last two years. Not only on a purely musical and production level, but in their exploration of extremely confronting, at time personal themes and subject matter, effectively changing the face of pop and hip-hop as we know it.
Read our review of Lemonade here, and our feature article about Kendrick Lamar as hip-hop’s most important voice here.