In a Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards showcase in Los Angeles last year, several artists lit up the various stages and wowed the crowds. They included Beyoncé, A$AP Rocky, Snoop Lion and R Kelly. They got the fans going crazy, but when Kendrick Lamar got on the stage the LA fans went ballistic.
The short rapper, who dresses like any regular guy, first stepped on to the stage to do his part on A$AP Rocky’s F***ing Problems.
The song also features Drake, but only when Lamar stepped on to stage did the performance start to take shape – and fans went wild.
Snoop Lion staged a good show and called out all his friends, from Warren G to Dr Dre, and among his buddies was the young Lamar, who came across as fitting in well with the legends.
What an outsider from LA would not know about Lamar is that he is a California native and so Dr Dre, Game and others see him as heir to the rap throne. In fact, on the BET stage, Snoop introduced the 26-year-old rapper as the “rapper that’s taking over”.
This is appropriate since Lamar’s childhood influences were Dr Dre and Tupac Shakur. He is said to have seen them shooting California Love back in the mid-1990s.
After trying to break out in the industry with several mixtapes, it was only in 2010 that Lamar’s fourth attempt, Overly Dedicated, brought him international success.
On that mixtape, the song Ignorance Is Bliss stood out because of its harsh content on gangsta rap and crime. It was so good that even Dr Dre expressed interest in working with Lamar – and we all know what happens when someone is taken under Dr Dre’s wing.
This gave birth to Lamar’s 2012/13 debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city which features Dr Dre on Compton. The first single that came off this album was Swimming Pools (Drank) which featured at number 17 on the Billboard. Soon several artists like J Cole and Lady Gaga came out of the woodwork to work with Lamar.
One of his hit tracks, B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe, came out and it became an instant anthem. The video has comedian Mike Epps having fun going to a funeral.
Now coming to South Africa for the first time through the Miller Boomtown initiative, you get to catch Lamar while his hype is at its peak. Last year, Miller Boomtown brought us 2 Chainz for a series of shows that proved to be a huge success. It’s almost like seeing Michael Jackson just after he dropped the Thriller album. It wasn’t necessarily Jackson’s first album, but he was at his peak. As things stand, Lamar is on top of his game and if his seven nominations for the upcoming Grammys don’t speak volumes, then nothing will.
Billed for only three shows, Lamar will stage his first per- formance in Durban’s Wavehouse on February 7. The next day, he will take the party to the Johannesburg Stadium in Jozi and then to Cape Town’s Bellville Velodrome on February 9.
Some of South African hip hop’s finest will open for him. With Khuli Chana and Reason in the line-up, Lamar will have tough acts to follow. Khuli Chana and Reason have been in Miller Boomtown concerts before where they proved firm favourites. Ticket prices range from R350 to R750 and are available from Computicket.
WIN! WIN! WIN!
Tonight together with promoters Airey Scott are giving away five double tickets per region to the upcoming Miller Boomtown gig in your city next month. Headlining the tour will be international hip hop sensation and self-proclaimed King of New York, the talented Kendrick Lamar.