Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Kendrick Lamar wowed us with an amazing televised performance of an unreleased, (currently) untitled song.
Appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Kendrick, who has now taken to calling himself “Cornrow Kenny,” continued his habit of coming on late night television and offering up some completely new material for fans (see also, his "Untitled 1" performance on the Colbert Report). Backed by his own band—I thought he would have performed with The Roots—Kendrick gave viewers a dazzling performance, starting with a more soulful, bouncing effort that built towards a captivating display of passion and fire that also shouted out the full TDE crew, from Punch to MixedByAli and more.
In an interview with Fallon before the performance, Kendrick said he didn't have the confidence to make To Pimp a Butterfly the first go-round, when he made GKMC, but it's a different story now. Whether or not you were enamored with the performance, what makes these late night sessions all the more admirable is that these are brand new songs.
He’s not performing these night after night on tour, these are custom made live performances, completely new songs that may only ever be performed once. In that way, To Pimp a Butterfly continues to be less of a traditional album and more of an open-ended project K. Dot is constantly adding to.
To be that sharp with minimal preparation requires not only tremendous ability but also real confidence. Kendrick’s grown quite a bit from freestyling at lunch, huh? Whether or not this track ever lands on an official release or is even given a proper name remains to be seen, but tonight Kendrick showed why whenever he hops on network TV, he’s the one you want to see. You ain't got to tell me that he's the one.