La­mar lets world in­ter­pret his words

Pulitzer win­ner brings show to West Palm Beach

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - SPOTLIGHT - By Phillip Valys

In an in­ter­view last Novem­ber with Va­ri­ety, rap­per Ken­drick La­mar said he wasn’t in­ter­ested in ex­plain­ing the lyri­cal rid­dles that dom­i­nate his 2017 al­bum, “Damn.” Aware t hat t he al­bum had spawned a cot­tage in­dus­try of in­ter­net cognoscenti dis­sect­ing its ev­ery line, La­mar told Va­ri­ety, “I think the more peo­ple talk about it, the more it be­comes fas­ci­nat­ing, and you can have a de­bate about it. As long as I keep knowing how much to give, giv­ing just enough, and be­ing able to pull back and leave the au­di­ence to in­ter­pret it, I think [the mu­sic] will stay in­tact.”

Not that La­mar needed to give a damn ex­plain­ing the mean­ing of “Damn.,” which in April won the Pulitzer Prize for mu­sic — the first record­ing out­side of jazz or clas­si­cal to do so — af­ter win­ning five Grammy Awards in Feb­ru­ary. Calling “Damn.” a “vir­tu­osic song col­lec­tion,” the Pulitzer mu­sic board, ru­mored to be uni­fied in its crown­ing of the al­bum, added that its “ver­nac­u­lar authen­tic­ity and rhyth­mic dy­namism of­fers af­fect­ing vi­gnettes cap­tur­ing the com­plex­ity of mod­ern African Amer­i­can life.”

Your mileage may vary on which La­mar al­bum is his finest. 2012’s “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City” and 2015’s “To Pimp a But­ter­fly” are fiery, lim­ber clas­sics. The mo­men­tum that pro­pels La­mar these days makes his im­mi­nent South Florida visit, his sec­ond since Septem­ber, seem more like a vic­tory lap than a tour stop. La­mar will head­line the Cham­pi­onship Tour on Wed­nes­day at Coral Sky Am­phithe­atre in West Palm Beach, shar­ing the hip-hop-heavy bill with long­time Top Dawg En­ter­tain­ment la­bel­mates School­boy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Lance Ski­i­i­walker and R&B singer SZA, with whomLa­mar recorded the hit sin­gle “All the Stars” for the “Black Pan­ther” sound­track.

The lyrics on “Damn.” work like a sew­ing nee­dle, weaving se­duc­tive con­fi­dence and unity, the per-

Ken­drick La­mar

Where: Coral Sky Am­phithe­atre, 601-7 Sans­burys Way, West Palm Beach When: 7:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day Cost: $35-$157 Con­tact: Live­Na­tion.com, Tick­et­mas­ter.com and pay-by-phone, 800-745-3000. Go to Ken­drick­La­mar.com. sonal and po­lit­i­cal, the racial and spir­i­tual. In the sin­gle “Duck­worth,” La­mar shares the ap­par­ently true story of how his fa­ther, Ken­neth “Ducky” Duck­worth, a KFC em­ployee when La­mar was a child, nearly died af­ter a restau­rant robbery. “An­thony liked him and then let him slide / They didn’t kill him; in fact, it look like they’re the last to sur­vive,” La­mar raps in the song. An­thony the rob­ber was re­ally An­thony “Top Dawg” Tif­fith, who even­tu­ally signed a teenage Ken­drick La­mar and be­came his la­bel boss.

Hardly a stranger to South Florida, La­mar has played here twice since De­cem­ber 2016, first with a loud, in­ti­mate set un­der a beach­side dome be­hind the Faena Ho­tel Miami Beach. That show, which leaned heav­ily on La­mar’s 2015 al­bum “To Pimp a But­ter­fly,” was a sonic assault that never waned in en­ergy or charisma.

He last came through Miami’s sold-out Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena in Septem­ber bran­dish­ing a fast and fu­ri­ous per­for­mance for a crowd verg­ing on 20,000. The con­cert re­vealed La­mar as a man in con­stant mo­tion, and made it clear that this is Ken­drick La­mar’s world. Let ev­ery­one in­ter­pret what that means.

It’s also a suc­cess­ful world for La­mar’s la­bel mate SZA, who this week picked up four nom­i­na­tions (for her 2017 de­but al­bum, “Ctrl”) at the 2018 BET Awards, be­hind La­mar’s five. La­mar and his Top Dawg En­ter­tain­ment crew also have been tout­ing their win­ning sprees in con­cert. An L.A. Times con­cert review May 10 de­scribes ban­ners “fram­ing the stage list­ing the var­i­ous awards and nom­i­na­tions they’ve re­ceived.”

“Need­less to say, this show was a safe space for self-pro­mo­tion,” the L.A. Times writes, point­ing out a phrase that flashed on a large video screen be­hind La­mar, who some­times calls him­self “Kung Fu Kenny.” It read “Pulitzer Kenny.” “And given the la­bel’s ac­com­plish­ments, why shouldn’t it have been?”

AP/FILE

This April, Ken­drick La­mar’s 2017 al­bum “Damn.” won the Pulitzer Prize for mu­sic — the first record­ing out­side of jazz or clas­si­cal to do so — af­ter win­ning five Grammy Awards in Feb­ru­ary.

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