I first came across Kendrick Lamar when I found out he subtly sampled Radiohead’s ‘Pyramid Song’ on his track ‘How Much a Dollar Cost’. There’s been enough plaudits about ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ that I really can’t add anything more to what’s already been said. However, despite all the already incredible reviews, on 8th January 2016, Kendrick Lamar took things to a whole new level.
On ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’, he performed an unreleased song called ‘Untitled#2’. This performance is one of the singularly most sublime pieces of art I have ever witnessed. It was so pure, so unfiltered, and so beautiful. The backing vocals are outstanding, the piano fills are perfect, the consistent triplet movements by multiple instruments are like waves, and then that outro. He is operating on a level that no-one else can touch right now, nor even have the capacity to judge. The way he floats around the rhythm is like watching Muhammed Ali’s feet move against Cleveland Williams, just effortless and poetic. This performance has cemented him for me, as one of the most important artists of our generation.
“You ain’t gotta tell me that I’m the one” – exactly.