Kendrick Lamar gave a powerful political performance that shook the Grammys back into reality. In this vital and provocative performance, Lamar performs two standout tracks from his new album, To Pimp a Butterfly: “Alright” and “The Blacker the Berry.” In Lamar’s own words, addressing the audience with the lyrics “As we proceed, to give you what you need.” This immense piece of performance art posed a direct challenge to current racial tensions in America, rapping “your plan is to terminate my culture.” Complete with pyrotechnics and wild effects, this piece was one to remember. Stimulating and thought-provoking, this was certainly the show-stopping performance at the Grammys this year. The strong performance was seen a refreshing change from the white-washing of Award shows.
The six-minute piece, warned to be controversial did not disappoint. As it turns out, Lamar’s performance was controversial in a different way than expected. Fans have taken to the internet noting the similarities between Lamar’s performance and a theatrical piece by Philadelphia rapper Dice Raw entitled “The Last Jimmy.” Although there is no bad blood between these two musicians at this time, it is reported that legal action might be taken. Dice Raw stands with Lamar in protest of mass incarceration as exemplified in both their works, but he still takes issue with Lamar’s producers and choreographers. Is this a matter of stolen intellectual property? Where do we draw the line on sharing and taking from other musicians when you are promoting the same message?