"It's hard for me to adapt right now. I still don't believe this shit," Kendrick Lamar said, before a sea of fans at his first of two sold-out shows at NYC's Roseland Ballroom yesterday (Feb. 26).
Even though his major-label debut studio album, "good kid, M.A.A.D city" (2013), debuted at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in October, the West Coast rapper is still in awe at his own success.
After taping a performance of "Poetic Justice" on "Late Show with David Letterman," the rapper performed material from his first project, "Overly Dedicated" (2010) to "good kid, M.A.A.D city" at not one, but two sold out, headlining shows, streamed on Hot 97's website.
Kendrick Lamar kicked off his first show with "Westside, Right on Time," rapping, "Good Kid, m.A.A.d city watch my day unfurl." He proceeded to keep the audience hyped, with hands wailing side to side, with a one-hour set full of fan favorites and guest appearances.
Black Hippy members, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q joined Kendrick Lamar on stage through out the night, performing collaborative tracks like "Money Trees" and their own solo cuts, like Ab-Soul's "Terrorist Threats" and ScHoolboy's "Hands on the Wheel." "Fuck that song. I'm tired of performing that," ScHoolboy joked, before teasing album news. "I can't wait for ya'll to listen to my new album this year."
Kendrick Lamar surprised fans when he brought out A$AP Rocky to perform "Fuckin' Problems." A$AP didn't make it out to the first show, but Kendrick still shouted the rapper out before spitting his verse, saying, "One time for my ni--a A$AP. Two times for young motherfuckers running shit."
50 Cent ran out on stage performing his 2007 hit, "I Get Money." The hype died down when he transitioned into recent singles, "We Up" and "Major Distribution," hinting on the unfamiliarity of the rapper's new material.
K. Dot marched on, performing a stream of earlier work like "Cut You Off (To Grow Closer" and "Blow My High (Members Only)." "Ni--as be like, 'He is gonna sign to a major laben then fuck up all his shit.' We proved them wrong," Kendrick said with pride.
By the end of the first show, Kendrick Lamar's voice had grown hoarse. It was the price to pay for giving his fans his all. Before stepping off the stage, Kendrick Lamar looked out to his loyal fans and left them with a promise: "No matter how big this shit gets, how small I get, if I'm down to my two cents, I will always come back to you."