Kendrick Lamar's Juneteenth Concert: A Musical Masterclass and a Bold Statement on Beef with Drake An Editorial!

Kendrick Lamar's Juneteenth Concert: A Musical Masterclass and a Bold Statement on Beef with Drake An Editorial!
Kendrick Lamar

 

I've loved music for as long as I can remember, probably even before I was born, given my parents' deep passion for Reggae, Pop, and indigenous Ghanaian music. Yet, when I talk about music with fervor, I'm referring to rap and Hip-Hop. My earliest memories are filled with the beats and lyrics of HipLife legends like TicTac, Okomfo Kwadee, and Reggie Rockstone, alongside the Pop and Reggae icons my parents cherished, from Michael Jackson to Bob Marley. This eclectic mix of sounds laid the foundation for my musical tastes and appreciation.

 


As I grew older, my love for music evolved into a deeper appreciation for lyrical complexity and storytelling, particularly in Rap. My teenage years were a turning point, a time when personal experiences and trauma drove me to seek solace in music, especially the profound narratives found in Rap. I discovered underground Rap in the U.S., unearthing a treasure trove of undiscovered talent. Around this time, I was introduced to rappers like MF DOOM, Aesop Rock, Joey Bada$$, Hopsin, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Jedi Mind Tricks, Immortal Technique, Madvillain, Roc Marciano, Talib Kweli and several other seasoned rappers just to name a few who were thriving in the underground and then there was Drake, J. Cole, and finally, Kendrick Lamar. They stood out against the backdrop of established icons like Eminem, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West. Drake's pop sensibility, J. Cole's vulnerability, and Kendrick's socio-political commentary captivated me.

 

These three artistes have dominated the conversation in Hip-Hop for the last decade, seen as the successors to the genre's greats. Recently, the Big 3 debate has intensified, with Drake, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar often at its center. While J. Cole, who happens to be my all time favorite for a number of reasons is frequently seen as the third in this triumvirate, a recent lyrical spat between Drake and Kendrick has reignited discussions about their standings. This beef, marked by a series of diss tracks, left fans divided, though many sided with Kendrick, citing his lyrical prowess, the cultural relevance and timeliness of his music and the impact of his diss tracks.


 

Kendrick Lamar's recent POP OUT concert at The Forum, held on Juneteenth, was a masterful reassertion of his position in this ongoing debate. The concert was a celebration of Black culture, his hometown, and Black history, but it also served as a bold statement in his rivalry with Drake.

 

The name of the event itself, POP OUT, was a statement. As Kendrick said on NOT LIKE US, "sometimes you just gotta pop out and show nigg*s." And that's precisely what he did, bringing together some of the most influential figures in the culture, including notorious gang members from both sides, sports stars, and other notable personalities, to underscore his influence and support.

 

Kendrick's outfit was carefully chosen, echoing the style of the legendary Tupac. He wore a red hoodie, a white shirt, and blue denim jeans, symbolizing a respect for both the Bloods (red) and the Crips (blue), while his white shirt most likely represented his neutrality. Despite his affiliations, Kendrick has always promoted peace and understanding within gang culture, a theme he has explored extensively in his music. His attire was a powerful visual statement of his ties and his neutral stance.

 


The setlist for the night was meticulously crafted to convey Kendrick's message. From the opening song EUPHORIA, which electrified the crowd through to DNA, ELEMENT, ALRIGHT, SWIMMING POOLS, MONEY TREES, WIN and  KING'S DEAD which he performed with former label mate, Jay Rock to a resounding applause, 6:16 IN LA with Ab-Soul,  COLLARD GREENS and THAT PART bringing out Schoolboy Q, KING KUNTA, M.A.A.D. CITY , HUMBLE, LIKE THAT, STILL D.R.E and  CALIFORNIA LOVE which saw the legendary Dr. Dre come out to perform and to the repeated performance of the final track NOT LIKE US, Kendrick's choices reflected his depth and authenticity. Each song was a reminder of his lyrical genius and his genuine connection to the culture.

 

Kendrick Lamar's Juneteenth concert was more than just a musical performance; it was a cultural event that reasserted his dominance in the Hip-Hop world. The enthusiastic response from the crowd, particularly the LA and Inglewood natives, affirmed his place at the top. The support for Kendrick was overwhelming, highlighting the community's alignment with his messages and his authenticity, in stark contrast to the perception of Drake as a culture vulture.

 

In essence, Kendrick Lamar used the POP OUT concert to reiterate his standing in the rap game, reinforcing the idea that he is as real as they come. His lyrical battles with Drake are not just for show; they stem from a deep place of authenticity and commitment to the culture. And on that night, Kendrick Lamar made it abundantly clear who the true king of Rap is.

 

 

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