It’s hard to imagine Kendrick Lamar will ever come up with a better concert opener than “DNA,” track two from his highly acclaimed fourth album, DAMN in which he redefines hip-hop bravado: “I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA/I got hustle though, ambition, flow, inside my DNA.”
Lamar has been using the powerful track to kick off his shows during his biggest tour yet, which arrives at T-Mobile Arena Saturday night. Whether or not you consider the new album his artistic masterpiece—a lofty statement given the young star’s stellar output so far—there’s no doubt that Lamar’s live performance has never been bigger or better, as he has graduated to selling out arenas across the country. His current show is all-Kendrick—no extras onstage, no over-the-top production, just an artist at his peak delivering the entirety of his latest work, with plenty of past hits and favorites mixed in.
Of his second tour stop in Brooklyn, The New Yorker wrote: “He did not perform with a band or with hype men, and managed the massive Barclays stage on his own. He seemed to have forgotten about the film behind him, about his costume. The visual busyness of the stage only emphasized how Lamar’s fiercely concentrated stage presence can overwhelm all activity around him. His delivery is a testament to the enduring power of an unvarnished rap performance.” Kendrick Lamar with Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. at T-Mobile Arena, August 5.