After the announcement from the official SXSW app stating “If you want to see Kendrick Lamar at the iTunes Festival… Go NOW,” fans ran from their location fighting for their entry. The ticket winners were already entering, but the standby line was rapidly growing around the corner. The show that was initially supposed to start at 8 p.m. sharp started almost 45 minutes later due to a small crowd. People weren’t getting in fast enough, and the place seemed empty (hence the announcement from the official SXSW app).
First up on the lineup was Isaiah Rashad. When he entered the stage, the cheering was slim. For an up-and-coming rapper on Top Dawg Entertainment (T.D.E), people didn’t seem familiar with his set. He would make often pauses to let the crowd sing, and well, although it’s a big venue, there wasn’t too much screaming. Despite a lack of popularity (compared to Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q), he kept the crowd hyped with his heavy bass and an uplifting performance. He encouraged the audience to get funky.
Next up was Schoolboy Q, who just dropped his most recent album, Oxymoron. He played hit songs “Hands On the Wheel,” which originally features A$AP Rocky, and “Druggys,” which features Ab-Soul. The screens on the stage featured digital smoke and the fans were standing and and dancing throughout his entire set. Q kept fans going by encouraging them to “Turn up” and “Stay live” throughout his set. He even stated that if you were with media, you might as well leave because he didn’t want boring people at his set. He was very eccentric and bounced around the stage his whole performance.
Lastly, Kendrick Lamar took the stage. Even with a slim turnout at first, the place became fully packed by the time Kendrick took the stage. As the arena went dark, his name lit up across all the screens, raising the fans up from the floor to the nosebleed seats. After opening with songs from his album, Good Kid M.A.A.D City, he performed his parts of hit songs he’s featured in including A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems” and Young Jeezy’z “R.I.P.”
Throughout the set, smoke burst up through the stage and strobe lights were in full swing. The atmosphere of the arena had people going wild. He played his two biggest singles “M.A.A.D City” and “Swimming Pools” before his anchor. The famous line, “every time I’m in the streets I hear…YACK YACK YACK” had the arena ready to burst with exhilaration. The lights, jumping, smoke, and screaming had every fan in pure Kendrick Lamar heaven. He left the stage with three words, “I’ll be back.”