Kendrick Lamar performs “Not Like Us” six times at the Kia Forum

For Kendrick Lamar, “The Pop Out – Ken & Friends” show on Juneteenth was less about Drake, less about putting the final nail in the coffin of a simmering rap feud, and more about celebrating Los Angeles and its influence on the culture. of rap as a whole. – that is, because “they don't like us.”

While the Pulitzer Prize winner rapped the lyrics to his undeniable hit “Not Like Us” a total of five times (the first time he had done so), several of his peers took to the Kia Forum stage to enthusiastically rap with him. , c- walk to the beat and conclude the night with an epic group photo of Los Angeles legends. Some of the people on stage included DJ Mustard (who produced the record), Black Hippy (Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q), Compton rapper YG, LA Clipper Russell Westbrook, singer Steve Lacy, announcer from Big Boy radio, tommy the clown (along with his talented team of krumper kids), choreographer Charm La'Donna, and supposedly members of every gang in Los Angeles.

“This excites me,” Lamar said. “We have lost Much much of friends with this shitty music. Lots of friends from some street shit and we're all together on this stage; unity from each side of the damn king Los Angeles, crips, bloods, pirus: this s**t is a special man.”

He added: “We have prepared this just for all of you.”

Lamar announced his show “The Pop Out – Ken & Friends,” which was produced with his label/creative agency pgLang and Free lunch on June 5, just days after organizers of the annual Leimert Park event Juneteenth Festival in South Los Angeles, where thousands of black Angelenos have been gathering for this special holiday for several years, announced that it was canceled due to cost and safety concerns. The historic performance also came about a month after Lamar's fierce showdown with Drake in which Internet scorers deemed him the winner.

Real 92.3's DJ Hed was first on stage around 4:20 p.m., with several guest artists including Kalan.FrFr, Westside Boogie and Cuzzos (a female rap group), and Tommy the Clown along with his group of krumping. , dancing children.

Next up was Grammy-winning producer DJ Mustard, who also welcomed several of his collaborators and friends to the stage, including Blxst, Ty Dolla $ign, Dom Kennedy, Roddy Ricch, recent high school graduate 310Babii and Tyler, the Creator. He also made a dedication to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle during his DJ set.

During intermissions between sets, the crowd chanted the lyrics “OVHOE,” one of the catchiest in a long series of memorable lines at the end of “Not Like Us.”

After a recorded introduction by rapper E-40, Lamar walked off stage and opened his set with his Drake track, “Euphoria,” as a bright red light shone above him. His hawk-eyed fans wasted no time posting on social media that he had added a new bar to the song: “Give me back Tupac's ring and maybe I'll show you some respect.”

Lamar continued to perform some of his older songs, including “DNA,” “Element,” and “Alright,” all of which carried different weight after the Drake issue. But one of the best moments of the show was undoubtedly when Lamar joined Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul on stage to perform “King's Dead.”

After Lamar performed his verse from “Like That” by Future and Metro Boomin, he brought out Dr. Dre, his longtime mentor and collaborator, to perform his classic hits “Still DRE” and “California Love.” Before leaving the stage, Dre helped introduce Lamar's “Not Like Us” by saying the intro “I see dead people” and the crowd exploded.

Lamar repeated “Not Like Us” a total of five times (not including a sixth time that was instrumental only) and stopped at the unforgettable lyric “A minorrrrrrrrrrrr,” which he and the audience kept up for a long period of time. (This moment felt like Lamar's cover of Kanye and Jay-Z's “N—as in Paris” or Beyoncé's silent challenge.)

Of the more than a dozen artists, the most surprising thing was that Lamar's cousin and labelmate, Baby Keem, did not appear as a guest on the show.

While “The Pop Out – Ken & Friends” show was certainly a final victory lap for Lamar, he made it clear throughout that this event was much bigger than him or any rap issues. He's always been about elevating the culture, unifying people and improving the city, and that will never change.

In the parking lot, many audience members saw the show as a historic moment not only for music but also for the celebration of hip hop and Black LA.

“It's a cultural moment,” Stacy Aneke, 25, of Ontario, added that she wanted to celebrate with the “winning team,” referring to Kendrick, of course.

“Honestly, there is no one better than Lamar to bring out the community that really knows the history and purpose of Juneteenth and to make people more aware of Juneteenth and its importance,” said fan Omarri Veck, 24 years.

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