Video Credit: The Kennedy Center
Kendrick Lamar and National Symphony Orchestra in the same sentence seems like a rare combination. Tuesday night, however, Lamar hit the Kennedy Center stage for a historic performance with the NSO in Washington, D.C.
Lamar performed many of his hits, including “To Pimp A Butterfly,” “These Walls” and “Alright." Check out the performance above.
According to WTOP, NSO Pops Conductor Steven Reineke said, “This is going to be quite an adventure because you have two very, very different worlds colliding, from a full symphony classical orchestra, with the world of hip-hop. But it’s not something we’re totally unfamiliar with.”
That’s because Reineke also conducted the NSO Pops with rapper Nas last year.
“We basically recreated and reinvented his ‘Illmatic’ album,” Reineke said. “It was epic. It sounded like movie music in a way. It had this really epic scope to it."
"But when you’re talking in the modern vernacular poetry of current hip-hop and the types of sounds and samples and funk and R&B music that you hear in the background, then you add on top of that the horns and lush strings of a symphony orchestra, it’s a beast that takes on its own entity," Reineke said. "There’s nothing like it in the world.”
Reineke says the idea for hip-hop collaborations was born several years ago.
“A few years ago I realized there’s one genre of music that’s very important in American culture that we have never worked with … and that is hip-hop," Reineke said. "We were able to do that with Nas and now we’re continuing that with Kendrick Lamar."
"I feel like we have a stewardship to the great American songbook and to me that’s always being written. It’s not just Irving Berlin and George Gershwin," Reineke said. "It’s guys of today who are writing and they have something important to say. A guy like Kendrick Lamar, the artistry is really high.
"The message that Kendrick has, the things he talks about, the modern-day current issues are very valuable,” Reineke said.