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Kendrick Lamar Big Steps Into “King of Rap” Role In Dallas: Review and Setlist

Lamar's first tour in five years is a two-hour therapy session, redemption odyssey, and play rolled into one

Kendrick Lamar Big Steppers Tour Review
Kendrick Lamar, photo by Greg Noire
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    “Is Dallas in this shit tonight?” Kendrick Lamar asked a roaring crowd before performing “Purple Hearts” from his new album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. “You know it’s been five years since I seen ya’ll, right? So I maybe a little bit rusty on this stage. I may need a little help. I think I need ya’ll to help me sing this … Let’s get it.”

    The last time Kendrick Lamar performed in Dallas was July 14th, 2017, when he brought the “DAMN. Tour” to the American Airlines Center. Then, he was one of hip hop’s biggest attractions with the highest-selling album of the year, on the verge of becoming the first-ever rapper to be awarded the prestigious Pulitizer Prize the following year, and arguably the new King of Rap. Exactly five years later, Lamar brought “The Big Steppers Tour” (get tickets here) to Downtown Dallas on Saturday night (July 23rd), now accepting of the genre’s throne and understanding of its power, responsibilities, gifts and curses.

    But a king is nothing without their loyal subjects, and the evening saw Lamar earning the loyalty of the fans through confessions, appreciation, and realization after being gone for so long.

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    Promptly starting at 9:05 p.m., Lamar, donning an all-black suit with a diamond-encrusted glove on his right hand and identical ventriloquist doll, and backed by background dancers and orchestra, took center stage to the piano strokes of “United In Grief.”

    The show’s stage design revolved around a huge white cloth that projected various images to reveal Lamar’s inner thoughts. Other props included cascading ceilings, thunderous lighting, elevating platforms, a voice-only therapist, and pyrotechnics.

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