Kendrick Lamar Shines In Minnesota's Greatest Hip-Hop Show

Kendrick Lamar Shines In Minnesota’s Greatest Hip-Hop Show

Hip hop has gone a long way from the two turntables and a microphone stage presentation of mythology, and on Saturday night in St. Paul, fans in the Twin Cities watched possibly the genre’s most expansive tour to date. In this post, you will read that Kendrick Lamar shines in Minnesota’s greatest hip-hop show and more details.

At Xcel Energy Center, Kendrick Lamar gave a 100-minute performance that was both artistically and visually impressive. He incorporated modern dance, psychotherapy, a ventriloquist dummy, and COVID testing without skipping a beat.

The music itself lacked wow value, although that wasn’t obvious from the stage’s extremely smart, gloomy staging. To put it plainly, the one and only rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize delivered once again on the promise that he is the best in his area right now.

Saturday night was Lamar’s second time packing the St. Paul’s hockey arena in the decade since his hometown idols Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg hoisted him up as Los Angeles’ new rap king. The tour in support of his fifth album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” is currently a month into its run.

Kendrick Lamar

When compared to his performance alongside his two role models at the Super Bowl Halftime Show in February, the stage production on Saturday was quite simple. The concert’s visuals and soundscape fought between black-and-white and color imagery and bright and dark tones, reflecting the inner demons that Lamar bares his soul about facing on his latest album.

With a fake of himself onstage, the 35-year-old rapper sang to the tune of “United in Grief,” as if he were having trouble bringing himself to sing in his own actual voice. Nonetheless, he was able to track it down in short order.

After the star hid behind a metaphorical mask in “N95” and struggled with his rapidly growing reputation in “Rich Spirit,” a therapist’s voice — recorded by Dame Helen Mirren — occasionally came in over the speakers to offer psychoanalytical guidance.

The remaining set design was just as spare and straightforward. A dozen men and women in black and white suits deftly weaved in and out of the white stage lighting, taking the place of the traditional fly-girl dancers. While the runway extended for well over half the length of the arena floor, Lamar typically took his time walking it. There were extended periods during which he made no discernible motion.

To deliver “Father Time,” one of the show’s most moving moments, he sat on a simple chair in the middle of the stage and knelt down, like a doctor delivering a baby. Wow, that was some serious delivering!

Lamar had little choice but to remain still throughout the entirety of “Mirror.” He did it inside a hospital’s decontamination bubble while bemoaning the spread of the COVID virus: “Sorry I didn’t save the world, my friend, I was too busy making my redemp.”

In “M.A.A.D. City,” the dancers’ use of bright lighting to create the illusion of a police caravan closing in on the rapper was another simple but effective effect. In the ingenious “Count Me Out,” Lamar danced and bopped along with a big shadow version of himself projected on a curtain; the shadow had arrows shot into his back.

On Saturday, the setlist included practically every song from the new album. Around 14,000 people attended, and they showed plenty of enthusiasm for the new songs, even singing along with some of the more introspective ones. The crowd got into it for “Family Ties,” and the opening act, Baby Keem, returned to the stage.

However, judging by the audience’s enthusiastic response to “King Kunta,” “Humble,” and “Backseat Freestyle,” Lamar’s older material would have been well received. The crowd groaned audibly as he spliced together a medley of “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Loyalty,” and “Swimming Pools (Drank)” after only one verse of each song.

No one expected this to be a greatest hits celebration, though. That boosted its already excellent status. It was undoubtedly one of the best hip-hop tours ever.

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