"Lamar is equal parts oral historian and authorial presence," writes Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, in a Los Angeles Review of Books essay about the Compton-raised emcee. As far as compliments toward rappers go, that's major. After all, Kendrick Lamar is the king of the rap world right now. He humors on raw club hits such as A$AP Rocky's "Fuckin' Problems," remixes Miguel's "How Many Drinks?" single with his own poolside liqueur and even snips at Jay-Z's ego on their "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" remix. But that's Lamar only scribbling. Some of the more "novelistic" and "eloquently anchored" moments occur on Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.D. city masterpiece, where plot, harm and heartbeat become motifs in Lamar's incredibly rich rhyme trails.
This is Duke University's Last Day Of Classes annual concert, which over the years have become increasingly more difficult to gain entry into without Duke credentials. So, if you get in, don't waste your energy entertaining the reckless dance of EDM-muck defender Steve Aoki. Instead, save a loud "YAWK, YAWK, YAWK, YAWK!" for Lamar's set. —Eric Tullis