Kendrick Lamar & Big K.R.I.T. Rock Chicago’s Pitchfork Festival
I booked my flight from Austin to Chicago on Friday morning in order to catch the Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday. That morning, while I was making a mental schedule of the acts I wanted to see, I made sure to remember that Kendrick Lamar’s performance was booked for 4:45pm on Sunday. Not to hype anyone up, as we’ve all seen what hype can lead to (anyone remember Papoose?), but since I heard Cut You Off in 2010 I’ve yet to be disappointed with K-Dot’s releases.
A lot has changed for Kendrick since then; including signing a major label deal, the Dr. Dre co-sign, and TDE becoming a presence of its own. I caught ScHoolboy Q’s performance the day before and it only built anticipation for Kendrick. Sunday came around and I posted up about 20 minutes early to make sure I had a clear view (one that was shaded as well as temperatures were hitting the 90s). 4:45pm came by and no sign of Kendrick, which led the crowd to start chants of “Kendrick! Kendrick!” A few minutes later, Kendrick’s tour DJ/engineer Ali hit the stage and started playing some records to get the crowd warmed up. A few minutes later some folks ended up walking on stage, which was a good sign, and around 5:00pm Kendrick hit the stage (one of those blonde ladies on the side of the stage turned out to be Lady Gaga, but that’s another story).
Starting off with Fuck Your Ethnicity, Kendrick ended up performing several new and old records including She Needs Me, Hol’ Up, ADHD, P&P 1.5, HiiPower, Chapter Six, Michael Jordan (my personal), Rigamortis, The Recipe and his newest release, Swimming Pools. Lamar then finished off with an a capella verse (which may be unreleased) and gracefully walked off stage. When Ali stayed put at the DJ podium I knew that Kendrick wasn’t completely done. My instincts were correct as K-Dot returned for a powerful performance of Cartoons & Cereal where both he and the crowd rapped Gunplay’s parts.
Throughout the entire performance the energy level of the crowd and Kendrick were at 100%, a great sign as Hip Hop isn’t a big part of the festival. His number of fans is increasing daily as the music and message are spread resulting in his notoriety showing as much growth as his music. The potential is there for something great, will good kid, m.A.A.d city turn Hip Hop’s "Golden Boy” into one of its elites? We’ll get that answer on October 2nd.