Friday was finally Berlin’s turn to host Kendrick Lamar. K.Dot. Mr. 2012. The good kid. The fact that Lamar’s album »good kid m.A.A.d city« just went gold and the fact that his Berlin concert was sold out and so had to move to a larger venue still didn’t prepare one for the insanity that apparently is Lamar’s following. I thought the power of the internet, the access of more and more free music had killed the icon, the idol but there he was standing in front of me, in front of hundreds, their mouths screeching »KENDRIIICK!«, their heads nodding to his melodies and their arms reaching out trying to grasp the aura of Compton gone global. Kendrick jumped on stage from behind the curtain just as abruptly as he jumped from the underground into the mainstream manically rapping a segment of a song. Then, taking to the center of the stage, he came to a halt. He just stood, his head held proud with a single golden light shining down on him. The cheers, screams and yells formed around him like a dense wall. He seemed unfazed. His eyes diverted at the above and the beyond. He didn’t even seem to breathe. But as the screaming built up, became louder and more desperate Kendrick reacted. The dense wall turned into fluid energy he soaked up, the screams of his fans acting as fuel for the impending concert.
The sheer amount of fans didn’t matter. Kendrick wanted to know how real they were. »How many of you have been with Kendrick from day one?« Screams and cheers erupted. As he played tracks off of »section.80« I expected his fans to be caught. Caught in the fact that they just knew »good kid m.A.A.d city’s« anthems but they aced the test. Any and all songs Kendrick threw their way they knew.When Pitchfork reviewed »section.80« they claimed: »…but it’s not like he’s some preacher/prophet figure«. Then it was true but now, during his world tour, a whole different character has been sighted. The storyteller is now the Messiah of Compton. That he preaches to a worshipping audience is blatant. It is his message that is not yet so clear. He tells stories of the underground: gang rivalries, murdered relatives and the dangers of peer pressure. Now he’s part of the mainstream machine and though Kendrick Lamar certainly feels comfortable on stage the 25-year-old still needs to find his role within the bigger picture. »We are still telling our story. Staying away from the mainstream. The fans came to us.« He can’t preach this myth much longer though it’s understandable why he wants to hold on to it. Now we’ve got a Messiah preaching the stories of a kid. It won’t be until his next album that Kendrick will get a chance to grow into his new role, a role he probably didn’t choose to play.