There’s no wonder why Kendrick Lamar has accrued a devoted, impassioned fan base over the course of his musical career. The Grammy award-winning rapper and Compton native has proven his capacity for empathetic storytelling, personal reflection, and poetic nuance on albums such as Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and To Pimp A Butterfly, solidifying his status as one of the top rappers in the industry today. Lauded for his magnetic stage presence and powerful live performances, Kendrick knows how to effortlessly command a crowd when he’s in front of the mic.
Now, Kendrick is touring with his most recent critically-acclaimed album. DAMN., which was released this past April, is a work which further showcases the Top Dawg Entertainment member’s adeptness at finding a balance between reflective poetry and reactive hype. Hitting hard with his personal anecdotes about family strife and existential doubt, Kendrick still manages to provide levity and lighthearted contrast with infectious bangers that are meant to be sung along to.
At his first stop on the DAMN. tour, at Gila River Arena in Arizona, Kendrick paused to let the audience sing the lyrics to the first official single off of the album, “HUMBLE.,” unaccompanied. But rather than step in and continue the song after a handful of bars, Kendrick let the audience take the floor for almost a full minute. With a silence that seems to be equal parts awe and gratitude, Kendrick can be seen smiling and nodding as the crowd raps the simple, but powerful, refrain, “Sit down, be humble,” before the audience bursts into an unbroken 20 seconds of applause. Twitter user @ImScampi posted a video of the event, saying “Kendrick literally had an entire arena spitting HUMBLE. for a solid minute completely acapella.” Watch the video below.