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Kendrick Lamar Really Popped Out: The West Coast Is Back On Top

June 20, 2024

Read the full review on HotNewHipHop.com!

Kendrick Lamar embraced the new generation, honored the OGs and unified Los Angeles at The Pop Out – Ken & Friends concert.

It’s officially Juneteenth in Los Angeles, and there was only one place to be: Kendrick Lamar’s show at the Kia Forum. This was Kendrick Lamar’s The Pop Out – Ken & Friends concert, and the Compton native capitalized on the moment by allowing fans across the world to tune in. The show was live-streamed on Prime Video and Amazon Music‘s Twitch Channel, courtesy of pgLang (Kendrick and Dave Free’s media company) and Free Lunch.

Pulling up to the venue in Inglewood, California, it was immediately apparent what fans were waiting for: Kendrick Lamar to perform his viral smash “Not Like Us,” which instantly solidified the victor in the Drake vs. Kendrick beef. When the song dropped toward the end of the show, Kendrick had the entire West Coast lit, screaming in unison, “Ayy, Mustard on the beat ho!

DJ Mustard’s Los Angeles All-Stars

With “Not Like Us” produced by Mustard himself, it was only right to have him open right before Kendrick. But we didn’t expect the all-star roster of artists he was about to bring out. First up with rookie 310Babii who has the summer smash “Soak City.” Then came LA favorites BLXST, Ty Dolla $ign, Dom Kennedy, Steve Lacy, Tyler The Creator, Roddy Ricch, and YG in that order.

With everyone on a high from YG’s “BPT,” it was finally time for Kendrick to take the stage. The beauty in attending this concert in person is witnessing Kendrick Lamar make history in real time while feeling the camaraderie in the entire stadium. People of all ages and ethnicities were gathered here, all purchasing a ticket to support one the greatest artists to ever do it.

Soon, the impatience kicked in as fans started cheering “O-V-Ho!” There are so many quotable lyrics in “Not Like Us,” and Kendrick made a point to give everyone their money’s worth. He ascended from underneath the stage, emerging from the floor in a squatting pose.

Sometimes You Gotta Pop Out

He kicked off with “Euphoria,” the fiery response to Drake’s “Push Ups” and “Taylor Made Freestyle.” And while the die-hard fans were screaming the lyrics verbatim, a noticeable lyric change may have gone over some people’s heads at first. “Give me Tupac’s ring back and I might give you a little respect,” he rapped, referencing a ring owned by the late great Tupac Shakur that Drake purchased at an auction. Drake confirmed he bought this ring in a social media post before seemingly alluding to the purchase in Travis Scott‘s “Meltdown”: “I pull out a million to stare at this shit.”

I Don’t Do It From The ‘Gram, I Do It For Compton!

When the lights came on, you could finally see Kendrick’s fit: a red hoodie, red cap, jeans, black glasses, and a huge chain around his neck. A few chains actually, with one being a huge cross pendant. Fans speculate this paid homage to Tupac’s iconic red fit at The Source Awards in 1994. It’s the details for us!

Regardless if you’re from L.A. or not, you were proud as f*ck to be in the building tonight. It became even more clear as the Compton star ran through hit records from To Pimp A Butterfly and DAMN. Kendrick proceeded to perform catalog staples like “DNA.”, “Alright,” and “ELEMENT” —  in which fans screamed, “I don’t do it for the ‘Gram, I do it for Compton!

The Long-Awaited Black Hippy Reunion

At this point, it was time for Kendrick to bring out his TDE family. Jay Rock was first up, as fans were reminded of their standout collaboration on “Money Trees.” But it was Jay Rock’s “WIN” that stole the show. Ab-Soul was next, joining Kendrick Lamar on stage to perform “6:16 In L.A.” and giving a shout-out to Carson. ScHoolboy Q followed for “Collard Greens” and “THat Part,” before Black Hippy stuck around on stage to dance along to “King Kunta.” From there, Kendrick led into an arsenal of bangers including “m.A.A.d. city,” “HUMBLE.”, and his explosive verse on Future and Metro Boomin’s “Like That.” There was definitely a moment of wondering: is Future or Metro going to pop out, too?! Especially since Metro was just in Los Angeles for his comic book pop-up less than a week ago.

California Love, For Real

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more lit, Kendrick brought out the one and only Dr. Dre. The moment the piano-laden intro for “Still D.R.E.” begins, the entire Kia Form erupted with cheer as Dr. Dre emerged from the stage’s floor. “You know I had to come back and do this kinda sh*t in my hometown. Especially, one of the greatest to ever did it! Can y’all make some noise for Kendrick f**king Lamar?” Dr. Dre told the crowd. Kendrick then asks the crowd to make noise for Compton, California, before performing “California Love” by Tupac. Iconic is an understatement!

But, my personal favorite part of the show happened right before Dr. Dre was about to leave the stage. The N.W.A legend began making his exit, and Kendrick convinced him to make one last statement to the crowd. Dr. Dre then kneeled down and whispered: “Psst, I see dead people,” before the infectious production of “Not Like Us” dropped. You can’t make this shit up.

Why you trollin’ like a b**ch? Ain’t you tired?/ Tryna strike a chord and it’s probably A minorrrrr.” Kendrick held this note and did his little dance move in the air, only to run back “Not Like Us” from the top. He ended up playing it a total of seven times for the evening, and we were all here for it.

Popping Out 7 More Times

History was made tonight. Kendrick united all the gangs and hoods in the building, from Bloods to Crips to everything in between. And he made a point to stand on two important values: peace and love. “We done lost a lot of homies to this music shit, lotta homies to the street sh*t,” he said.

The grand finale brought Mustard back on stage to run back “Not Like Us” for the fourth time, before eventually bringing out all the artists in the building. From the new generation to the OGs, K. Dot highlighted the city in the most beautiful way possible. “We’ve been f*cked up since Nipsey died, hold up. We’ve been f*cked up since Kobe died, hold up!”

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