Watch Kendrick Lamar perform with a symphony orchestra

Watch Kendrick Lamar perform with a symphony orchestra

One of the best orchestras in the world plays one of this year's best albums.

In a performance that's as epic as you'd hope of the coming together of some of America's most talented musicians with one of the most complex and ambitious albums of modern times, last night at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Kendrick Lamar teamed up with National Symphony Orchestra to perform tracks off his lyrical masterpiece, To Pimp A Butterfly and his breakthrough sophomore album good kid, m.A.A.d city. Lamar's performance sees him following in the footsteps of rapper Nas, who performed Illmatic with the symphony last year.

Wearing all black and a cross around his neck, with his air in cornrows, Lamar looked very mature - a far cry from his younger, rattish self. Even with 100 other musicians on stage, reports say Kendrick was as commanding as ever, and very much in control. Said Consequence of Sound of his performance: "Everything was on fire: from the openers, a collection of music students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts named the Mellow Tones; to the blazing vocal solos; to Lamar’s possessive, herky-jerky motions to cue his band; and to a few insane (and I mean insane) freestyles."

After his final song, Lamar addressed his audience: "Since day one, it’s always been about doing music that people relate to and people can live their day-to-day lives to...I wanted to go times 10 with 'To Pimp A Butterfly,' where only a selected few will get to understand it and live by it and learn from it the same way I’m learning from it. So, with that being said, give me something deep."

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The centre has put up a recording of Lamar performing These Walls, Lamar's reflection on the problems with mass incarceration, a process that he suggests takes people who've fallen victim to the system and isolates them from the ones they love most. Watch it below - what a truly memorable performance this would have been to those there.

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