With his continuing “The Big Steppers Tour,” Kendrick Lamar exemplifies how far hip-hop has progressed as performance art at its finest.
Before Kendrick Lamar and PgLang took the stage in Washington, D.C., Tanna Leone and Baby Keem, both members of the PgLang team, set the scene with radically distinct visuals. With tracks from his April 2022 album “Sleepy Soldier,” Leone, the latest signing to PgLang’s self-cultivated record label, opened the event. Fans were treated to a medley of ambient lighting, alternating monochrome visual effects, and a novel singing style.
On a stage modeled after a therapist’s office, Kendrick Lamar started his performance. In order to illustrate the vivid portrait of “Mr. Morale,” he held a ventriloquist dummy and performed the outstanding album opener, “United In Grief,” which paralleled the complex emotional topics addressed in his “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” album. Throughout the entire set, the therapist can be heard.
Dancers led the audience through the song with motion and movement, adding another style to the performance’s palette. Every step, stride, and slide taken by these masters of form had one word that stood out: intention.
What Else Happened During The Performance?
In a mind-blowing audio/visual moment of shadow and sound for the song “LUST.” from Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 album, “DAMN,” the dancers merged together as one throughout songs like “N95” and “Silent Hill” and flowed through other songs like “N95” and “Silent Hill.” The piano-heavy highlight of “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” “Crown,” was performed by Lamar with the rapper himself at the keyboard.
The room-shakers, which Kendrick Lamar excels at performing, are a must when you’re a megastar. However, as mentioned, this set’s unpredictable nature always leaves room for a twist. Longtime fans were thrilled to hear some of their favorite songs, including “DNA,” “Money Trees,” “LOYALTY,” “Backseat Freestyle,” and “family connections” with cousin Baby Keem, performed from a levitating quarantine chamber.