The audience at Warehouse Live on Saturday night was well-rewarded after waiting in a line that hugged the building, caused by fans waiting in anticipation for California rapper Kendrick Lamar
Lamar’s latest album, the inspiring “Section.80,” most likely contributed to the large gathering. The album stood as one of hip-hop’s strongest releases in 2011 and saw its way onto numerous year-end lists.
There has also been no scarcity of supporters as many established veteran rappers have shown signs of fandom.
Houston greats such as Scarface and Bun B generously took the Warehouse Live stage in philanthropic support of the young and promising Lamar, adding to the long list of those recognizing his success.
As the crowd swelled, each member of Black Hippy, the Cali hip-hop collective of which Lamar is a part, made welcomed surprise appearances.
Lamar then proceeded to take the stage, intensely rapping his verse from “Buried Alive,” a gloomy interlude featured on Drake’s “Take Care” album. The verse seemed to be carved out specifically for Lamar from a mutual respect of artistry and a fondness of Lamar’s movement.
Indeed, his movement has taken flight as a steady stream of support has followed since the release of his forceful 2010 mixtape “Overly Dedicated.”
Lamar’s expression through verse often takes an introspective stance, noting disappointment in generational shortcomings and speaking on society’s tolls as well as his own personal highs and lows.
Re-enacting a dialogue between his father and himself, Lamar mentioned the questioning of his own ability to craft such far-out and as his father put it, “ecological, psychological, materialistic, ballistic” raps while remaining reserved from recreational drug use.
“I got a certain type of disability,” Lamar said, and the crowd caught on. “Y’all want to let him know what we got?”
A responsive roar from the fans emerged and they shouted “A-D-H-D,” and Lamar quickly went into the popular track of the same name.
Perhaps the pinnacle of Lamar’s performance was the crowd chanting along to the marvelous tribute to Pimp C and Aaliyah on “Blow My High (Members Only),” a song with thick, smoky organ and slow drums reminiscent of a laid-back southern style crafted in the ’90s.
Lamar proved himself Saturday night by doing justice to his verses by performing with a high energy ascribed to a man at work.
Lamar is set to accompany rappers Drake and A$AP Rocky on the Club Paradise Tour, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 14 in Miami.