kendrick lamar, the best, most athletic and ambitious rapper of his generationstormed Primavera Sound on Friday with what could be said to be the (even) more minimalist version of his ‘Big Steppers’ tour, which stages that great therapy record (‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’) built based on reflections, confessions, contradictions and relationships, among the latter the very complicated one that Lamar maintains with his well-deserved fame.
In other words: we ran out of toys like the piano, the ventriloquist dummy, the entire troupe of dancers or that giant and transparent cube that we saw rising with it inside in the concert film available on Prime Video. Minimalism, really, was this: some shifting backdrops on the black experience, fewer dancers, clever play with light. Scenography perhaps somewhat less rich and impressive, but Lamar’s ‘flow’ is more than show enough. Clarity, energy, elasticity – no one does this like him. And less for a generous 90 minutes.
It was known, or rather, it was remembered from the powerful start with ‘N95’, first excerpt from a new repertoire that combined with ‘hits’ from previous eras, each with its own sonic personality: ‘ELEMENT.’ as the first performance of advanced return to the essences and the boom bap samples from ‘DAMN.’, from 2017; ‘ADHD’ as a rare flashback to the seminal ‘Section.80’ from 2011; ‘King Kunta’, his moment James Brownas the first gateway to the G-funk wealth of ‘To pimp a butterfly’, that expansive summit turned into the soundtrack of the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the impressive course of his exhibition, with hardly any moments of respite or possible room for reluctance, he also recalled his collaborations with Pusha T (‘Nosetalgia’), The Weeknd (‘Sidewalks’) and his young cousin Baby Keemthis one in person to recover ‘vent’ and the even superior ‘family ties’, which had already sounded hours before in Keem’s own stellar pass, although without Kendrick’s verse.
Difficult to put a but to the selection or the interpretation, although leaving half a (false) party anthem like ‘Swimming pools (Drank)’ had something of a self-boycott. Luckily he made up for it shortly after with a ‘HUMBLE.’ point and aside, summit of the night, sure that of the festival.