Kendrick Lamar, Black Hippy Bring the West Coast to Free NYC Show
Kendrick Lamar, Black Hippy Bring the West Coast to Free NYC Show

He may call himself "the Good Kid From the Mad City" of Compton, Calif., but Black Hippy's resident ladies man Kendrick Lamar may find himself being referred to by a grander title than that before long.

Last night (Monday, June 4), fans lined up around the block of Santos Party House in New York City, hoping to be one of the lucky people to gain entry to Kendrick's free show. In order for fans to attend the performance -- which was co-sponsored by VEVO and HTC -- they had to retweet a message promoting the launch of HTC and VEVO's Social Sounds series on Twitter, then hope to be one of the first 300 people to show the RT at the door.

But as soon as the fans packed inside the venue, Kendrick asserted himself as the dynamic live performer he's grown to be in the past few years. Taking the stage around 8:30 pm, he opened with "Cartoons and Cereal," his new offering featuring Gunplay that he said will be included on "Good Kid in a Mad City." The "Section.80" follow-up is his first since he and his Top Dawg Entertainment co-horts -- Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul -- signed to Interscope Records/Aftermath Entertainment in March.

"Fuck Your Ethnicity" and "Hol' Up" from his "Section.80" EP got a huge response from the Santos crowd, which rapped every word along with him.

His set soon became a family affair, as each member of Black Hippy came out and performed a track of their own. Ab-Soul hit the stage first for "P & P" before rapping "Terrorist Threats" off his new album "Control Systems." Jay Rock followed with his single, "Hood Gone Love It." Last but not least, ScHoolboy Q stepped up to the forefront for his A$AP Rocky-assisted, "Hands on the Wheel," off his "Habits & Contradictions" LP.

What sticks out about Lamar as a performer is more than just his stage presence and ability to hype a crowd, but the dynamic and connection between him and his fans. His fans relate and connect to his style and storytelling. "I'm going to let this song rep not only me but all these mother fuckers in my generation," he said before launching into "A.D.H.D.," and the overwhelming crowd response affirmed.

While many rappers stick to a formula of spitting the first half of a verse and letting the fans take the second half, Kendrick uses the live stage to showcase his flow, often dropping the beat and going a capella, as he did on "Blow My High" and "HiiiPower." His fans rapped right along with him.

Lamar closed his hour-long set with his latest, Dr. Dre-assisted, track "The Recipe," which is also set to pop up on "Good Kid in a Mad City." Last year, Dre and Snoop Dogg bestowed Kendrick with the title of the new King of the West Coast during an L.A. concert. With the way crowds are popping for him all over the country, it doesn't look like he'll be stopping there.

Set List:

"Cartoons and Cereal"

"Fuck Your Ethnicity"

"Hol' Up"

"P & P" (feat. Ab-Soul)

Ab-Soul - "Terrorist Threats"

"Look Out For Detox"

"A.D.H.D."

"Tammy's Song (Her Evils)" (a capella)

Jay Rock - "Hood Gone Love It"

"Rigamortus"

Schoolboy Q - "Hands on the Wheel"

"Cut You Off (To Grow Closer)"

"Blow My High"

"HiiiPower"

"The Recipe"