Kendrick Lamar’s Music & His Message Climb Over The White House Fence (Video)
In March of 2015, Kendrick Lamar released his fourth album, To Pimp A Butterfly. Within a year of it dropping, the TDE/Aftermath Entertainment release would take the Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album,” along with platinum certification. In the LP’s artwork, it featured Kendrick Lamar and many of his Compton, California cohorts posing outside The White House, against its fence—with money, an unlit Molotov cocktail, and a caricatured portrayal of a deceased judge.
Less than 18 months after its release, the contents of Kendrick Lamar’s T.P.A.B. are now on the other side of that fence. Yesterday (July 4), K-Dot joined Janelle Monae as a guest at The White House for a special performance, hosted by President Barack Obama. According to fan-captured video, Lamar performed a number of his songs on the South Lawn for an audience in the thousands.
“Swimming Pools (Drank),” “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” and “Money Trees” were part of the concert. However, when Kendrick pulled from To Pimp A Butterfly to perform social anthem “Alright,” the significance appeared historic. As expected, Lamar censored some of his lyrics for the government-sanctioned performance—although the palpable emotion was fully in tact.
As President Obama (a public supporter of Kendrick Lamar and his message) prepares to leave office, the closeness between Hip-Hop artists and the Oval Office appears to be at an all-time high. In video released at the top of 2016, the President is shown with Kendrick in the White House. In the days since, President Obama has invited other MCs to the White House for his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, including J. Cole, Talib Kweli, and Rapsody, among many others.
“On behalf of all of us…we obviously were hoping to share their incredible talents with 5,000 people on the South Lawn…and 4th of July is about family, it’s about the American family, it’s about us getting together with the people we love most. We all know that our freedoms are dependent on an incredible group of men and women in uniform,” said the POTUS, with active military and their families in the audience. Thanking those in service, Obama spoke about the value of respecting and appreciating military members.
Then, President Obama shifted directions to praise Kendrick Lamar and Janelle Monae. “These two [artists], I’ve gotten a chance to get to know. And they are both amazing artists, and talented, and popular, and doing great things—but they’re also very conscious about their obligation, and they put in a lot of time and effort on behalf of a lot of causes that are important.”