Kendrick Lamar1100 Warehouse, Wednesday, March 13
Chants of "fuck that shit" echoed down Fifth Street as a SXSW staffer parlayed news that West Coast rap's grand prince Kendrick Lamar already held an at-capacity crowd inside 1100 Warehouse, 45 minutes before show. 750 fit inside, 300 stood out, and that smaller sampling went altogether bonkers when the diminutive Los Angeleno, architect of October's wildly beloved good kid, m.A.A.d city, cruised from the Fader Fort shadows into the Spotify spotlight. "He touched my arm!" shrieked one hopeful girl lucky enough to brush elbows with Lamar's bodyguard. "That was good enough." Inside, Lamar emerged onto Spotify's runway stage looking turned up in gray T-shirt and close, high fade. Early on, he paid little attention to the buzz surrounding his sophomore album, eschewing gkmc shots for smooth soul and a hit list that shook straight from 2011's Section.80 debut. He flipped into the modern age midway through, making mention of October's buzzed-about effort before sliding from "Money Trees" into the treacherous "Backseat Freestyle" and smoothed out "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe." His Black Hippy crew came out in cameos to close, but by then the show had been set: Right now, Kendrick Lamar's working with some "HiiiPoWer."