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Kendrick in Milwaukee: Thanks for a great concert and reminding me I’ve been a day-one fan

todayAugust 22, 2022 2 5

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OK, this is so crazy to say, but I actually AM a big Kendrick Lamar fan. The oddity isn’t that I really enjoy “K.Dot;” it’s that I didn’t realize how much until I went to his “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” concert in Milwaukee Thursday night.

Let me preface this by explaining I love music, but I really love live music. Admittedly, I don’t attend concerts all that often (enter that particular day’s excuse here). So, I had no plans to see Kendrick until the opportunity presented itself through work.

Our task was to enjoy this award-winning, artistic genius while also promoting HYFIN, our new urban alternative station under Radio Milwaukee. My first thought: “This is going to be a dope, and purposeful, night.”

My second thought: “Eek, I don’t know that many Kendrick songs.”

My third thought: “Oh well.”

As our HYFIN team set up before the concert, I texted a friend to ask about her favorite Kendrick songs. I figured an actual fan would love this opportunity to truly make the night worthwhile. She’s a musichead, too, and quickly gave me four tracks:

  • “Money Trees”
  • “ADHD”
  • “Backseat Freestyle”
  • “Poetic Justice” 

The last one was the only song that immediately stood out to me. For the others, I had absolutely NO CLUE (or at least that’s what I thought).

In a hurry to discover this “new to me” music, I left our HYFIN room to search for those tracks on iTunes. I quickly recognized “Backseat Freestyle” — one of my favorites way back when, but clearly I’d forgotten it. As for the other two songs … nope. But with the melodies and lyrics memorized, my friend was going to get videos lovingly shot by me, as long as Kendrick played the songs.

The concert started with exciting opening performances from Tanna Leone and Baby Keem. Intermission steadied the room, and brought in some education, as fans watched a commercial on financial literacy and investing from Cash App and Kendrick’s company, pgLang.

Then it was time.

The dancers appeared first, and a box covered in fabric lifted to reveal Kendrick playing “United in Grief” on the piano accompanied by a ventriloquist puppet singing along.

From there, the show took us on a journey focused on freeing ourselves from all that encapsulates us. Throughout, we also heard from Kendrick’s “therapist,” voiced by actress Helen Mirren. Kendrick also took a COVID test onstage inside a clear, plastic box that covered him and four people in hazmat suits while “Alright” and “N95” played. 

Perfect. Choices.

Throughout the night, he effortlessly switched between tracks I knew (“Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Humble,” “Love Me,” “We Cry Together”) and ones I didn’t (“Element,” “Family Ties,” “Savior”).

From the artistry, the emotion and the choreography, it was clear our favorite rapper was elated to return to the stage and share a universal message. When the concert was over, I realized I’d sang and rapped along to way more songs than I thought I would.

And that’s when I knew I needed to say thank you to K.Dot. Thanks for reminding me that I’ve been a fan since “good kid, m.A.A.d city. And thanks for helping me get my friend a couple videos of her favorite songs, too.

Me and DJ, HYFIN Community Engagement Coordinator

Written by: Kim Shine

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