Kendrick Lamar Undergoes an Exorcism on SNL


A strong Saturday Night Live showing can serve as a glimpse into the future, depending on the parties involved. With Kanye West, “Black Skinhead” proved to audiences that a break from format with an outside-the-box presentation could achieve great things on an otherwise blank and boring soundstage. Sam Smith offered “Stay With Me” to the masses as his introduction to the world before he became the biggest voice of 2014, a trend Hozier would repeat a few months later. Waning interest in Iggy Azalea followed up her flop, while the public’s curiosity about St. Vincent piqued and Miley Cyrus was redeemed.

And with the good kid from m.A.A.d city? This week’s SNL may as well be a Magic 8 Ball, because this was the first official indication that 2015 will be the Year of Kendrick Lamar.

See also: Prince Melts Faces for Eight Minutes on SNL

Kendrick’s blown through SNL before, both as a breath of fresh air during an otherwise boring set from Imagine Dragons and solo for a spot of “Swimming Pools (Drank).” It’s been a minute since we’ve seen new material, and the prospect of the next Kendrick album, due early next year, had fans falling all over themselves with the Isley Brothers-sampling “i.” The single received the proper, fully fleshed-out treatment on SNL with a full, extraordinary band behind it, and that was to say nothing about Kendrick’s own inspired, eccentric output. Donning black contacts and the dance moves of a man possessed, he flailed, spat, kicked, and screamed his way through the single’s verses, breathing in the fire from his band and fueling each word with their flames.

Chantal Kreviazuk and Jay Rock joined Kendrick and crew for “Pay for It,” which followed suit in “i” ‘s excellence and energy. While plenty of pop and hip-hop performances have fallen flat on SNL (namely Iggy, Ariana Grande, and Eminem, in recent months), Kendrick’s soared, and his penchant for collaboration and surrounding himself with the best musical company he can find ensured that success. There’s only so much a flat backing track and glorified karaoke can do, and Kendrick delivered a full-throttle performance that put his verses and impeccable ear at the forefront. If this is a fraction of what to expect from Kendrick Lamar’s live show and the music on deck, we’re in for a hell of a year ahead.

As for the internet at large, Twitter agreed, for the most part, though the majority of K-Dot’s fans could’ve gone without his braid job and ghoulish contacts.

What we’re sayin’!


More like start makin’ sense amirite

By what logic?

A compliment by all accounts.

More saturated than your Lo Fi Instagram filter.

Again: by what logic?


Except EVERYONE was talking about Kendrick’s eyes.