Kendrick Lamar set the crowd on fire at Panorama

Kendrick Lamar took the main stage at the inaugural Panorama festival in New York City on Saturday night, to the biggest crowd Randall’s Island has seen thus far this weekend. Performing with a full band, Lamar blasted through favorites from 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, and got fans jumping to “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Money Trees.” He even dropped a few classics from his 2011 breakout mixtape Section .80 — including not one but two renditions of “A.D.H.D.” By the time he and his ensemble moved on to 2015’s groundbreaking To Pimp A Butterfly, the crowd was on fire.

With the live instrumentation, the set was markedly more jammy than Lamar’s traditional DJ sets, and he made frequent reference to the jam sessions he and the crew did while working on TPAB. They brought new depth and life to “King Kunta” and Lamar’s first finale, “i.”

Near the end of the set, Lamar took time to recognize the string of police shootings and brutality cases in recent months, and said he had one song to get the world through these uncertain times. That song, of course, was “Alright,” and the crowd chanted the refrain wholeheartedly. By the end of the night, Lamar had not only given a musically exhilarating performance, he had dropped the truth on a crowd of thousands with the profundity and sincerity he’s become known for.

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