Well, there you have it folks. No matter how many physical awards anyone takes home tonight from this year’s Grammys, Kendrick Lamar just won the evening with his blistering, powerful and thought-provoking performance.
Dressed in prison clothes and wearing shackles, Kendrick shuffled on stage into a prison set for Blacker The Berry, before the lights cut out to reveal a UV paint design on their costumes. Their bodies, blacked out from the UV light, writhed on stage in tribal dance, before Kendrick shifted to another stage in front of a bonfire. This is where he launched into an explosive rendition of Alright, with a mix of prison inmates and people dressed in traditional African dress behind him as his back up dancers. But it didn’t stop there.
Quickly running over to where he started, Kendrick then ripped into a new, unreleased track, Untitled 3, that was about “modern day slavery” as spotlights and camera angles made him look positively menacing. He delivered his lyrics quick and fast, and passionate as hell before the song ended abruptly to leave KDot standing in front of a map of Africa – and the single word, “Compton” emblazoned across it.
Looking exasperated and emotional as he received his well-deserved standing ovation, there would surely not be one body in that room without goosebumps, nor anyone who had just watched it with a doubt in their mind that he is one of the greatest ever.
Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich, in an interview with Billboard, gave some insight into Kendrick’s inspiration for the performance ahead of the show, saying, “Kendrick came to us and said that we live in a time where these issues confront us every day and that it’s important that they be given a public forum, and he would like to use his x number of minutes to create a great performance that is consistent with his this year.
“It is overtly political and it is overtly provocative, and I think if nothing else it’s going to give people something to think about and talk about.”
Image via Billboard