By 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, Bloomsburg University’s Nelson Field House was filled with nearly 3,000 dedicated Kendrick Lamar fanatics. For the past few months, BU students and fans in the surrounding areas anxiously anticipated his arrival. Outside of the venue that evening, all anticipation came to an end. The good kid was finally here, in Bloomsburg, PA. With only his producer (Ali) accompanying him on stage, the show began.
Kendrick Lamar – better known as K. Dot – released his first studio debut album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” in late October. The album later hit Platinum sales and the twenty-five year old Compton rapper quickly embraced the rap radar. Magazine publications such as GQ, The Source, XXL and Complex were eager to hear more about the story told in his album. GKMC included a series of skits based on Kendrick’s interactions with friends, family and life in Compton, California. The album gained him a new following of fans and supporters… all because K. Dot was the likeable rapper, he was the good kid.
In 1995, eight-year-old Kendrick witnessed Compton’s legendary rappers, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur, record the “California Love” music video. Ever since, both superstars became his personal favorites and future comparisons. In various interviews, Kendrick has made it known that the two have hugely influenced his career – from Dre lending a helping hand to Tupac’s gone but never forgotten flow. Unlike Tupac and many other hardcore rap artists, Kendrick Lamar dodged prison, bullets and most of the M.A.A.D City’s negatives. He was a good student, a responsible son (of two parents married for 23 years) and a gifted story teller. Music was his outlet.
While performing tracks from GKMC Sunday evening, K. Dot acknowledged his “true fans:” those who were familiar with his mixtapes, “Overly Dedicated” (2010) and “Section.80” (2011). The show continued and he announced, “To prove that me and my homies were the best rappers alive, we’d do one thing: freestyle.” By ‘homies,’ he meant his fellow Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) label-mates, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, all from Compton, California. Through TDE, the four rappers created the unstoppable group, Black Hippy. The crowd screamed and cheered as he performed one of the album’s greatest hits, “Backseat Freestyle.” The concert revolved around his journey as a rapper, rather than the album itself. Refusing to perform every song from start to finish, he instead highlighted which songs showcased his style best.
As the night soon came to an end, he returned to the stage to perform one last song, “Cartoons and Cereal,” which was leaked online before the album was released and was later ranked #2 in Complex Magazine’s Best 50 Songs of 2012 list. The rapper continues to collaborate with other great MCs, including J. Cole – who performed here at BU two semesters ago. The anticipation begins to build again as Kendrick Lamar fans everywhere wait for his next big move. Whether it may be an album with Black Hippy, directing a short film or organizing a clothing line based off his 90s prestige street style, Kendrick Lamar is a man who sets trends. His accomplishments thus far led him to the #1 spot as MTV’s Hottest MC. After Sunday’s concert, no argument would be made.
Photo Credit: AJ Diaz