One of Hip Hop's brightest stars, Kendrick Lamar, brought his talents to the Nation's Capital on August 4th when his The Big Steppers Tour hit Capital One Arena. Thanks to my good friend, the late Clarence Wright, I had a chance to see Kendrick's last appearance in Chocolate City, The Damn Tour, back in 2017.
I was highly impressed with my first Kendrick show, and given that my son has kept Mr. Lamar's most recent project, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, on repeat, it was a must-to-see to The Big Steppers Tour. Kendrick Lamar is not the same performer or artist he was in 2017. Arguably as a lyricist, he's been miles ahead of the peers that he shared a spot with for XXL's annual Top 10 Freshman Class back in 2011.
Like any good artist, Kendrick has changed the mood for every album while still keeping the flavor of conscious hip hop. I was curious about the concept Kendrick would take with this tour as his latest album deals with topics ranging from cancel culture to generational trauma. Thankfully Mr. Lamar is a perfectionist, and any doubts I had about the show went away quickly.
Baby Keem opened up the show with an energetic set before Mr. Lamar took the stage around 9:15. Kendrick graced the stage in an all-black military-style outfit reminiscent of the King of Pop. Opening his show with the instrumental of "Savior," Lamar commanded the stage as a seasoned pro. Keeping the crowd on its feet for the four songs was a sight. I was a proud dad watching my son rap along "United in Grief," "N95", "ELEMENT," and "Worldwide Steppers." word for word (profanity free, of course).
To my surprise, Kendrick took it back to his second album with a lively "Backseat Freestyle" performance before transitioning into "Rich Spirit." Up next was "HUMBLE," and given the energy in the crowd, you would've thought Lamar was done for the night. However, he still had twenty songs left on the setlist.
Potentially everything you wanted to hear, from iconic hits like "Allright," "LOVE," and "LOYALTY," to future hits like "Silent Hill," was part of the show. In addition, the set pieces were one of the most surprising things about the show. Some of the set pieces included hazmat suits and elevated mirrors.
Overall it was a hell of a show and well worth the money spent. My only gripe with the show was omitting "All The Stars" and "Poetic Justice" from the setlist. However, given the show's concept, maybe they wouldn't have fit.
Final Grade : A
1. "United in Grief."
4. "Worldwide Steppers"
5. "Backseat Freestyle"
6. "Rich Spirit"
8. "Father Time"
9. "m.A.A.d city"
10. "Purple Hearts"
11. "King Kunta."
12. "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" (Remix)
13. "Die Hard"
15. "Count Me Out."
16. "Money Trees."
21. "Silent Hill"
22. "family ties" (with Baby Keem)
24. "Mr. Morale" (with Tanna Leone)