Kendrick Lamar brought the house down when he opened the 60th Annual Grammy Awards with a politically-charged, powerhouse performance.
The rapper who was nominated for seven awards, took the stage in front of a group of dancers dressed as soldiers and American flags waving on the monitors behind him before he flew into “XXX.”
The rest of his set included some surprises and featured a few cameos from Dave Chappelle (who later in the night won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album.)
Then, Bono and The Edge appeared to sing the bridge of “American Soul” before Kendrick continued to light up the stage figuratively and literally; spitting fire while pyrotechnics shot flames all around him.
“I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a Black man being honest in America, is being an honest Black man in America,” Chappelle said during an interlude before throwing it back to Kendrick onstage.
He proceeded to spit verses from “DNA” and Jay Rock‘s “King’s Dead,” both tracks from the Black Panther soundtrack while a gorgeous, braided woman played the hell out of a taiko drum.
“Is this on cable? This CBS? ‘Cuz it looks like he’s singing and dancing, but this brother is taking enormous chances…Rumble, young man, Rumble!,” said Chappelle during another break.
The game-changing ending came as Kendrick began “shooting” his red hoodie-wearing backup dancers one by one until they were all ‘dead’ on the stage at the song’s conclusion, clearly sending a message to the world.
This isn’t the first time he has pushed the political envelope at the Grammy Awards.
Last year, Kendrick led the pack with 11 nominations and performed a powerful medley of his hits including “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” from his album, To Pimp a Butterfly.
The revolution is indeed being televised and Kendrick is standing firm at the forefront.
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