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Kendrick Lamar gives landmark performance at Glastonbury

protopian net kendrick lamar glastonbury

Kendrick Lamar, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album Damn, was at the Glastonbury Festival putting on a performance nothing short of epic, mostly for his courage in tackling ‘thorny issues’ – guilt, greed, loyalty, power, ambition, faith, prejudice and – of course – the restriction of the right to boarding in the United States.

With 20 dancers around him, Lamar started with United In Grief – a song that looks back on his 19-year career and the mental health issues he addressed on multiple albums. As the rapper stood behind a microphone stand, his dancers lined up behind him, each representing a different aspect of his evolving personality. As they spread, he began a journey through his musical work.

Throughout the show the dancers reflected their star’s internal and external struggles – as for example in ‘N95’, which tackles the wealth disparity, when all the stage lights went out and the dancers shined flashlights at Lamar, highlighting their own discomfort with fame and fortune.

The show was heavy without alienating the audience, who adored Lamar for his critical and contesting stance. The finale came with ‘Savior’, a song that examines Covid’s conspiracies, the Black Lives Matter movement, political correctness and his own personal flaws – which he juxtaposes with his faith in Christ.

Introducing the song, he explained that the message was that “imperfection is beautiful”, and that in our rush to judge, we often lose sight of the humanity of others.

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With blood dripping from his crown of thorns, rapper Lamar closed Glastonbury with a powerful message in protest against the reversal of abortion rights in the US.

“Good luck for women’s rights. They judge you, they judge Christ.”

Repeating the phrase several times and with greater intensity, eventually the rapper threw his mic on the floor and walked off stage. A unique show that proves the uniqueness and power of the rapper.

Kendrick Lamar set list:

United In Grief
Money Trees
Backseat Freestyle
Art of Peer Pressure
Swimming Pools (Drank)
Poetic Justice
Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe
Count Me Out
King Kunta
The Blacker The Berry
Silent Hill
Lust (interlude)

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