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Kendrick Lamar Performs ‘Not Like Us’ for the First Time at Juneteenth Concert

In a moment that may go down in rap history, Kendrick Lamar performed his Drake-eviscerating hit “Not Like Us” for the first time at his Juneteenth concert, The Pop Out: Ken & Friends. The show took place at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum and was announced less than two weeks prior. It was livestreamed on Twitch by Amazon Music.

Kendrick performed the track five separate times, each more explosive than the last. “Y’all ain’t gonna let nobody disrespect the West Coast, huh?” Kendrick Lamar asked after holding out the oft-repeated “A Minor” lyric (a double entendre meant to mock Drake as Lamar accuses him of being sexually inappropriate with underaged girls) in the first edition. He largely let the crowd lead the second, and for the third, there were firey pyrotechnics, dancers, and a loud chant of the “O-V-Ho’” as he performed the song to completion. The audience demanded a fourth, for which many of the nights performers and other stars joined including YG, Steve Lacy, Roddy Ricch, ScHoolboy Q and Clippers point guard Russell Westbrook. There were dozens of people on stage as Kendrick rapped, danced, and dapped through them for a fifth time.

Lamar opened his set with his first solo Drake diss in this spring’s beef, “Euphoria,” shrouded in red lights, falling fireworks and smoke. He eventually performed his “Like That” verse that ignited the beef too. He also played “DNA,” “Alright,” and “King Kunta.” Kendrick spent much of the show accompanied by former Top Dawg Entertainment label mates Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and ScHoolboy Q.

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Truly, a case could have been made for Kendrick Lamar keeping “Not Like Us” off the setlist. Though the concert seemingly takes its name from the “Not Like Us” lyric — “Sometimes you gotta pop out and show niggas” — Kendrick has clearly already done that over the course of five diss songs in his battle with Drake between late March and early May. The show could have been a celebratory lap that didn’t acknowledge Drake’s existence at all by keeping those tracks off the roster.

Instead, Kendrick hit the ground running with the song that escalated their tensions. Yet in the end, he celebrated the concert as a moment to unify the many and sometimes fractured facets of Los Angeles’ expansive hip-hop scene. “We done lost a lot of homies to this music shit, a lot of homies to this street shit,” he said, noting that the show featured artists from several different gang factions. He promised this would be the first of more collaborative moves.

“Not Like Us” debuted at Number One on the Hot 100 and hit Number One on Billboard’s Rythmic Airplay chart dated June 15, signifying its dominance on radio. In it, Lamar accuses Drake of pedophilia and exploiting other rappers. Drake responded with “The Heart Part 6” accusing Lamar of domestic violence, distance from his children, and surviving sexual assault. 

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