By Tara Haner and Lauren Walker
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, born June 17, 1987, is one of the most prominent and stylistic rappers on the modern music scene. Coming from the ghettos of Compton, California, Lamar’s new found fame is a success that not many achieve. His road to fame wasn’t easy but then again, no story of success comes without struggle. His unique lyrics and distinctive sound make Lamar one of, if not the best hip hop artist to arrive on the music scene. I attended a recent concert of his at the University of Central Florida arena on April 20th and it left every fans wanting more.
Upon arrival to the arena, the surrounding area made one feel as if they had just arrived to a modernized yet quaint village. The surrounding store fronts and restaurants were very charming and over flowing with anxious college kids. Right from the start the atmosphere promised an exciting night. A short walk across the street brought us to the front doors of the arena and to a small crowd of people. There was entertainment outside to keep the crowd busy while we waited anxiously to be allowed in. The music pumped up the crowd and took our mind off of the wait that seemed to be endless. When the doors finally opened and we were allowed onto the floor area, my friend and I got a perfect spot; we were only about 10 feet from the stage.
One of the first aspects of the arena atmosphere that I noticed was the lighting. The lights pulsed different colors to the beat of the music that the onstage DJ was playing for the crowd before show time. We didn’t have to wait long for the opening acts to begin their performances; I wish they had never started. It was an onslaught of random, “up and coming” artists that no one had even heard of. Their lyrics were terrible and they couldn’t connect to the crowd to save their life. They were also accompanied by their “crew” who danced behind them in an obnoxious and completely ridiculous manner, clearly displaying their intoxication. There were at least seven opening acts that lasted for two hours. People in the crowd began to yell profanities at the performers, demanding to see Kendrick. Junior Alex Obrien, who also attended the concert, commented, “I expected better opening acts, they were terrible.” His opinion concurred with the majority of the crowd.
Suffering through the torture of the opening acts was well worth it however, when Kendrick finally did appear onstage. The lighting became brighter, the bass became deeper and the crowd became louder. Lamar came out and immediately went into one of his more popular songs “Backseat Freestyle” which is one of my personal favorites as well as senior Daliana Gutierez who adds, “Backseat Freestyle is my favorite because the beat is amazing.” The song was met with mass approval from the entire audience. The experience only got better from there as he connected with the crowd and began to vibe off the audience’s approval. We all sang right along with every song and really got involved with the music, making the concert an awesome experience. “He’s going to go down in history as one of the best rapers out there,” Kai Washington raves. The past torture of the opening acts was completely washed away by what we believed to be the end of the concert. Kendrick bid the crowd a farewell and walked offstage. He had only preformed for an hour and a half and the crowd was hungry for more. We began to chant for more, “Kendrick! Kendrick! Kendrick!” The stage remained dark for a couple minutes before the lights burst back on and the music started again; Kendrick was back for more. His readiness to please his fans was an awesome bonus and the two encore songs he sang were the best of the night.
All in all, I would give the concert a 7 out of 10, the three points missing are because of the terrible opening acts; Kendrick definitely deserved better. I believe it was because of the college venue that he brought along such unknown artists. Kendrick’s actual performance though was on point and amazing. I would definitely recommend him to anyone interested in the hip-hop or rap genre.