THURSDAY, DECEMBER 03, 2015|
Posted by: Don Saas
If you put together a list of the three most important performers of the 2010s so far and Kendrick Lamar isn't on your list, your list isn't worth a damn thing. Here's a guy who's released not one but two easy picks for the shortlist of the top 10 albums of the 2010s. He's brought progressive politics back to mainstream hip-hop as not just the subtext of his work but the active text. And he doesn't stop. He's released new music with J. Cole this year. He's appeared on plenty of other tracks. To the extent that Kanye and Jay-Z defined hip-hop in the aughts, Kendrick is on track to do the same thing with the 2010s.
He stopped by Austin City Limits for a special one hour episode, and although the episode itself won't be out til January, they've shared Kendrick's performance of "Alright," and it is straight fire. I remember catching Kendrick Lamar at Bonnaroo two years in a row and in the course of those years, he went from playing a small Thursday tent show to a main stage set the next year. There were tens of thousands of people singing along to the lightning fast verses of "Backbeat Freestyle" that year. And it's clear from this ACL performance -- where Kendrick can hardly start the set because people are chanting "it's gonna be alright" to him -- that his connection with his fans is only going to grow. King Kunta, everybody.