This week wraps up the final days of Comedy Central’s beloved conservative-satire show The Colbert Report. From time to time, as part of the show, host Stephen Colbert will invite musical acts in the ending minutes slotted for interviews. Last Tuesday night west-coast rapper Kendrick Lamar utterly killed it as he was given the privilege of having the final scheduled musical performance for The Colbert Report, since the show’s announced cancelling due to Colbert moving on to take over The Late Show for the retiring David Letterman.
Kendrick took advantage of that honor by giving both Colbert Report and Kendrick Lamar fans a performance to remember, with his new album set to release some time next year. Kendrick has already performed a couple songs live; “i”, from his own untitled album, and “Pay For It” from fellow L.A. rapper Jay Rock’s upcoming project. Lamar released “i” in late September, and has since then seen significant radio play and has been fantastically performed by Lamar on Saturday Night Live.
This winter Tuesday night, however, Lamar treated everybody with a brand new untitled track on the hazy set of The Colbert Report. The song was prefaced with a post-recorded interview between Colbert and Lamar, discussing the basic origins of the young southern California hip-hop star (Lamar, not Colbert.) Stephen gave a few frivolous marketing and business tips to Kendrick, as Stephen soon exits the doors of his show that he hosted for over nine years.
The chemistry between the positive Lamar and the friendly Colbert paid a humble tribute to the quality and success the show has had over its ten seasons. Though following the interview, Kendrick Lamar turned a switch on and catapulted into the intense storyteller that his fans and hip-hop devotees have come to love. Lamar’s new song, which as of its debut is untitled, displays a powerful narrative that begins to ramp up in strength and emotion. The performance introduces a few elements to Kendrick’s already-polished style which is a simple, ambient beat with Lamar’s quick-hitting, almost spoken-word rapping.
Featured in this live performance is Sonny Moon’s Anna Wise along with singer Bilal; keeping an initially haunting vocal track going until it constructs onto itself with volume and emotion. The frequent collaborator from the R&B/jazz fusion project known as Thundercat sets the beat as well as the tone, which lays down a minimal upbeat-yet-tense melody that eventually gets perfectly overpowered by Kendrick’s quick rapping. Terrance Martin also joins the group with a perfectly moody saxophone, slamming in his solo in the most appropriate time possible.
The powerfully charged song has been making waves around tightly-knit internet music communities and served as the perfect swan song for The Colbert Report’s historied past of high-quality musical performances.