Saturday Night: Kendrick Lamar at Warehouse Live

Categories: Last Night

Photos by Marco Torres
There's nothing in Kendrick Lamar's catalog that suggests he's a capacity crowd artist. He doesn't chase radio glory. He doesn't make what you call, um, hits. He's just starting to log big name cosigns. Yet, on Saturday, Warehouse Live was packed from end to end with hip-hop fans eager to catch a glimpse of the Comptown lyricist. The show sold out. Those who arrived late were turned away.

Lamar's 2011 album, Section .80, tackled the woes of what he dubbed "the crack baby generation." After years of industry politics and shattered dreams, Section .80 finally arrived via indie powerhouse Top Dawg Entertainment. It marked his official introduction -- a 16-song opus stuffed with soul samples, spoken word bits, ruminations on youth, and the occasional endorsement of natural beauty.

At Warehouse, Kendrick kept his attention on Section .80, occasionally pausing to visit his widely praised mixtape, Overly Dedicated. Clad in a gray hoodie with tiger print sleeves and sagging blue jeans, he launched right into his show-stealing Take Care interlude, "Buried Alive," where he examines himself examining the spoils of fame: "So dig a shovel full of money, full of power, full of pussy, full of fame, and bury yourself alive. Then I died."

Lamar truly came alive Saturday night, each high point toppled by subsequent high points. His favorite stance is to stand (or occasionally move from side to side) majestically, hand on nutsack, hunched over with a menacing L.A. face, except during "Rigamortus" which had him leaping around and play-shooting TDE co-conspirators Jay Rock and ScHoolboy Q. His sheer charisma and passion is thoroughly infectious.

His set had all the ingredients of a classic hip-hop show.

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