Andres Tardio/Rap-Up

Kendrick Lamar Reigns at FYF Fest

King Kendrick reigns supreme. The Compton spitter shut down the first day of FYF Fest 2016 on Saturday (Aug. 27) in front of his hometown crowd in Los Angeles.

For a little over an hour, Kendrick Lamar took control of Exposition Park with a career-spanning set on the main stage. Backed by iconic imagery ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Mike Tyson and Bill Clinton to Cash Money, K-Dot showed off his own versatility.

“Levitate” kicked things off with an energetic chorus, bringing the anxious crowd to a bouncing fervor. From there, Kendrick moved his fans like a maestro, delivering the smooth (“These Walls”), the empowering (“i”), and the ferocious (“m.A.A.d. city”).

Kendrick Lamar

FYF Fest 2016: Day 1

During the latter, Cornrow Kenny reflected on his journey. “It’s been a long motherfuckin’ time since I’ve been in front of y’all performing this shit,” he told the L.A. crowd. “good kid, m.A.A.d. city, I put that shit out in 2012. This shit is gonna live forever.”

Kendrick didn’t go at it alone. His TDE brother Isaiah Rashad joined him for “Free Lunch,” a single off his upcoming album The Sun’s Tirade, and Jay Rock came through for his memorable verse off “Money Trees.” Otherwise, Kendrick’s only assistance came from the live band that reimagined his material for an additional kick.

Flames added to the explosive performance, perhaps most intensely during the encore’s closers, “Alright” and “A.D.H.D.”

It was a potent finish to a long day of music at FYF. Earlier in the day, Oakland’s Kamaiyah showed why she’s become one of hip-hop’s most buzzworthy newcomers and Vince Staples provided Long Beach flavor with a street edge.

FYF Fest continues tonight with Denzel Curry, Banks & Steelz, Rae Sremmurd, Young Thug, and Grace Jones.

–Words and photos by Andres Tardio