He said one day I’d be on tour, Kendrick Lamar recounts about his uncle in the hit “Money Trees,” and boy, was he right. The Compton, California, rapper’s second studio effort, good kid, m.A.A.d city, earned international acclaim and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
However, the sold-out poolside show started off rocky because of opener Schoolboy Q’s removal from the premises for illegal pre-gaming practices, ya bish. Kendrick saved the day, popping up a half hour early sporting his signature hoodie. The escalating beats of “Backstreet Freestyle,” got everyone moving and singing along right away.
For such a highly anticipated act, the West Coast rapper came off distant—maybe because of the very low mic level. Although he played mostly hits off good kid, notably “Poetic Justice,” and “maad City,” the intensity wasn’t there. And the songs from early EPs and his first studio album, Section.80, were too obscure and not memorable. The audience seemed to know the words to most songs, and Lamar’s immense following gave the impression of a stronger performance. Nevertheless, the absence of a good sound check combined with a congested environment made for an underwhelming experience. Maybe next time the hype won’t kill the vibe. ★★☆☆☆