Rapper Kendrick Lamar was Saturday’s – and likely the entire weekend’s – main attraction during the 2016 NCAA March Madness Music Festival at Discovery Green.
The outdoor venue reached capacity more than three hours before Lamar took the stage.
Lamar’s jazz-inflected hip-hop seemed to shake the entire city. He kicked off with new single “Levitate” from last month’s “untitled unmastered.” His set was like a hip-hop master class, incorporating rock flourishes, audience participation and embracing self-confidence.
He whipped through “For Free?” “Institutionalized” and “Swimming Pools (Drank)” with ease. The crowd kept hands up and voices high, particularly during “B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Lamar is a focused, fearless performer, but he never seems to be pushing too hard.
He pulled a male fan, David, onstage to spit a few bars from “m.A.A.d. city.” It was a solid attempt, but Lamar was left wanting more.
“I think a female could come up here right now. But you gotta know the words,” he quipped.
Security then escorted a woman named Jasmine onstage, whose bright smile belied her fire on the mic. She impressed Lamar and hyped up an already fired-up crowd.