Kendrick Lamar | Vicar Street, 14th January 2013
'I didn't go mainstream... Mainstream came to me.' And it's true - Kendrick Lamar hasn't compromised for his fame, he's earned it with widely acclaimed debut 'Section 80' and the soon to be classic 'good kid, m.A.A.d city', released last October. The Compton prodigy's first show in Dublin is quite possibly one that will be remembered long after last night for its intimate nature, the fact being that his next one will surely be in the O2 and Lamar's fame is only going to grow further towards legendary status over the course of the next decade.
The possiblity of thousands gathering just to hear 'Swimming Pools' was quickly dismissed as the crowd faithfully chanted every lyric Lamar had to spit early on, and it was easy to tell even he was a little surprised by cries of 'Ken-drick, Ken-drick' upon his arrival on stage. Kicking off with 'Section 80' hits such as 'Hol Up', 'Tammy's Song' and 'A.D.H.D', the Irish audience were bouncing and rapping back every word to Lamar, while DJ Ali made a point of cutting the beat during nearly every song just to hear the deafening crowd shouting ryhmes up at the stage. Lamar's on-stage presence was messiah-like mid-song but in-between his tales of song origin, growing up in Compton and interactions with fans (especially of the female variety) were an absolute delight to the crowd who responded by making a serious amount of noise for his insightful, comical remarks.
Around half-way through Lamar stopped to ask if 'anyone know of an album called good kid, maad city? I duuno if y'all got that over here' before blasting into a series of fan favourites such as 'Backseat Freestlye', 'Money Trees', 'Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe' and 'Poetic Justic' to an explosive audience, before ending with 'Swimming Pools' as cries of 'Drank!' rang around the venue. A short encore followed and chants of 'Ole, ole, ole, ole' probably confused the hip hop star, but one thing was clear to him: the devotion and loyalty of the Irish audience, a fact he acknowleged several times, saying 'Man I am so glad to be finally be up in this motherfucker.'
Expectations were set high for a great night but it's true to say they were exceeded as Lamar demonstrated first hand why he is currently being touted as the new king of hip-hop. It's not hard to imagine that in 10-20 years the name Kendrick Lamar will stand alongside Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G and Jay Z, so the chance to see a potential legend in as intimate and personal a venue as Vicar Street will be remembered as a truly unique occasion, and one that will be recalled by Irish fans for a long time. He knows it too, ending with a perfect message that everyone took to heart: 'Y'all been with me since the beginning. And if this thing gets big for me, I'm not gonna forget it, and you all know you were here tonight.'
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the finest live performances I've ever seen and something that we were all privileged to witness.
The Art of Peer Pressure (Intro)
Westside, Right On Time
Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe
Cut You Off
Swimming Pools (Drank)
Pussy & Patron
Review by Andrew Lambert
Story by John Balfe | 15:07 | Wednesday 16th January 2013 | Live Reviews