ACL Review: Kendrick Lamar


Kendrick Lamar, a rapper from Compton, Calif., is known to be one of the best rappers in the game right now and is on course to go down as one of the greatest rappers in history. His first album, “Section.80,” was good, but his most recent, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was phenomenal and he knows it. This has been Kendrick Lamar’s year, and being asked to be the token rapper at ACL definitely added to his success.

The anticipation for him was through the roof. Many people had been waiting for him for hours, just to get to the front row. Passion Pit had ended around the same time that Kendrick was supposed to begin, so I attempted to sneak my way to the middle, as I had done with another show the night before. These fans were not having it.

When he first came out, people began screaming like no other. In the words of Lamar himself, “This isn’t just a concert; this is an experience.” People wanted, more than anything, to experience seeing the man himself live.

The highlight of this show, I believe, was the live band. There was no electronic music being played with just a man standing on a stage. There was a guitar, drums, keyboard, the works. It made the music feel more real, well, because it was. He did not waste any time playing the songs that people wanted to hear. No matter where you were standing, you could see the multitude of cramped, die-hard rapping along to every song. 

The live band mixed with the light show gave the concert a sort of jazzy feel, but his rapping and persona is what made it so intense. He communicated with the audience enough to make us all feel like his sole purpose for being here was purely to entertain, and that he did. I had previously seen Kendrick at SXSW, but outside, in the Austin City Limits atmosphere, it was on a whole other level.