Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly is one of the year’s most highly regarded records. In turn, excitement has been building for Kendrick’s tour; he’s well known as a phenomenal live performer, and people are eager to see how he brings the new material to life.
Kendrick performed for the first time since the album dropped this weekend at the Sasquatch! Festival — held at Washington state’s gorgeous Gorge — but TPAB fans were left a little disappointed. As this anticipatory Bonnaroo Reddit thread points out, during his 80-minute set, Kendrick only played one song from his new album, “Alright.” Eighty minutes of performance time and only one new track makes the setlist? That seems off, especially when it’s an album that was as well-received as To Pimp A Butterfly was. Even if the album wasn’t held in such high esteem, it’s beyond customary for artists to play their newest material when they perform live — a fact that can often irk diehard fans who want to hear old classics.
Of course, To Pimp A Butterfly was a studio-heavy album with an extensive cast of collaborators, but most rappers perform over a pre-recorded track anyway — why not do that? It is worth noting that there hasn’t been an official tour announcement for the album yet, even if Kendrick is scheduled for multiple festival appearances. Perhaps he’ll begin to debut more new material after that. Let’s hope he does start performing these songs live because all I really want from summer is to scream the lyrics to “King Kunta” along with Kendrick and every other member of an enormous crowd.