Kendrick Lamar Performs With National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center in D.C. [WATCH]

By Ian Holubiak on Oct 23, 2015 03:50 PM EDT
Watch Kendrick Lamar, National Symphony Orchestra Perform at Kennedy Center in D.C. Rapper Kendrick Lamar performs during the 2015 Power 105.1 Powerhouse concert at Barclays Center on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo : Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

In a special one-off performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Kendrick Lamar performed To Pimp a Butterfly with the National Symphony Orchestra.

The artist's latest release has been well received in the pop community. And while pitting an orchestra and popular together isn't a new concept, the videos that have surfaced from the performance are actually listenable.

This was his second major-label album, which topped the charts earlier this year, and Kendrick took the stage in D.C. backed by the NSO and his own funk band that was positioned right in front of the strings.

On the performance, Al Shipley said:

"Lamar and the NSO threaded tracks from Butterfly and earlier in his career into a seamless suite with a narrative flow, sometimes employing snippets of songs as segues between full-length performances. One of his biggest hits, "Swimming Pools (Drank)," was just briefly previewed, with Lamar and NSO conductor Steve Reineke gradually speeding up the song's tempo until it snapped into "These Walls." The first half of "u," an expression of the rapper's darkest moments while making the album, was set up as a contrast to the triumphant performances of "King Kunta" and "i" that followed."

Perhaps Lamar's latest suite can be added to the canon of hip-hop-cum-classical and receive tribute via other national conductors. On an international scale, JIMEK back in June led the Polish national Radio Symphony in a medley of rhythmic classics -- which included Lamar's "Swimming Pools."

On the bill were also tunes from Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Wiz Khalifa and more.

Hopefully Lamar can indulge in this sound more often (perhaps a Grammy feature?).

Yet, in the meantime, here are some cuts from the concert provided by the good people over at Pitchfork. Listen to the way the band and the NSO intertwine seamlessly.

"King Kunta"



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TagsNational Symphony Orchestra, Kendrick Lamar, Kennedy Center

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