Dice Raw Claims Kendrick Lamar's Grammy Performance 'Ripped Off' His Musical

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Kendrick Lamar performs  onstage during the 58th Annual Grammy music Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 15, 2016. 

Kendrick Lamar bagged five trophies on Monday night's Grammy Awards but turned heads with his impactful performance of "The Blacker The Berry" and "Alright" from his Grammy-winning album To Pimp a Butterfly. The rapper wore chains as his band members performed in jail cells before transitioning into an African dance section backed by a giant bonfire. It wrapped with an untitled freestyle -- that referenced Feb. 26, 2012, the day of Trayvon Martin's death -- and a silhouette of Africa that saluted his native city Compton.

His performance brought Philadelphia MC Dice Raw deja vu. Raw took to Twitter (Feb. 16) to point out the similarities in K. Dot's performance and his hip-hop musical about mass incarceration called The Last Jimmya live play that showed in Los Angeles last year. Raw starred in as well as wrote original music and lyrics for the production.

Raw (born Karl Jenkins) noted that he wasn't trying to beef with Lamar and applauded his performance. “I though Kendrick’s performance was good -- I was watching/not watching -- until I got a phone call asking me what I thought,” Raw recently told Philly.com. “Oh yeah, the prison thing. That’s a point. Then the gold cages onstage, yeah that’s another coincidence. Are those musicians in cages? OK. African dance in the middle of that montage -- another coincidence, too.

Kendrick Lamar Performs 'The Blacker The Berry' In Chains & Lights Up Stage with 'Alright' at the 2016 Grammys

He said that his legal reps also reached out to Lamar's team. “My legal team and the production crew behind the L.A. performance took to social media very quickly and heatedly to say that Lamar has borrowed elements of The Last Jimmy -- at least in their opinion,” Raw said.

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Raw -- also a Roots affiliate -- didn't reveal what legal actions might be taken. "Something stolen? I don’t know," he said. "If something did happen, I’d just like Kendrick to call me, you know. It’s sad that — if somebody took something. Maybe it happened subconsciously.”

“We’re both fighting the same fight," he added. "I’m sure the brothers who are incarcerated appreciate his efforts. Lamar and I can’t aim attacks at each other. The real enemy is unseen -- who is pulling the strings behind mass incarceration and all this new Jim Crow madness. It isn’t Kendrick Lamar -- he’s not the enemy (laughs) ...but maybe his choreographer is."

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Billboard has reached out to Raw and a rep for Lamar for additional comment. 

See a preview of The Last Jimmy below.

2016 Grammys


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