Kendrick Lamar’s first ever performance at Glasto was delivered in political and dramatic style, as the rapper brought the festival to a close wearing a custom-made crown of thorns, covered in 8,000 diamonds. We’d been waiting to see him for almost three years, and it was worth over 1000 days of anticipation.
Kendrick – who I think is one of the best rappers on the planet – used serious theatrics with a group of backing dancers throughout, delivering new performance art to Worthy Farm with an unforgettable set.
Without the usual Glasto special guests, Kendrick raced and rapped through his songs without too much pause for thought until near to the end.
In a performance that sent the crowd wild, perhaps the biggest reaction of all came right at its climax when Lamar condemned the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade, as his final words onstage.
(For those living under a stone, last week US Supreme Court justices ended America’s constitutional right to abortion by overturning the 50 year-old ruling).
At the end of his 90-minute set, and with blood pouring down his face, Kendrick declared: ‘They judge me; they judge Christ. Godspeed for women’s rights’, repeating the phrase several times in a powerful moment before suddenly cutting short and leaving the stage.
As well as making a powerful political stand, Kendrick Lamar ensured that his outfit reflected his lyrical musings. Dressed in a simple pair of baggy slacks and a billowing, crisp white shirt, both designed by Louis Vuitton, there was a sombre meaning to his non-descript outfit, which was unveiled later on during the show.
The shiny crown is a one-of-a-kind Tiffany & Co creation, which took 10 months to make in Italy and is bedazzled with 8,000 cobblestone micro pavé diamonds totalling more than 137 carats. Working with Dave Free, with whom he co-founded the media company pgLang in 2020, Lamar’s 200g crown paid homage to the one worn by Christ during his crucifixion.
As his performance of “Saviour” went on, fake blood trickled down from his head, splattering his purposely white shirt for the entire audience to see. Crowns have become part of the rapper’s identity in this recent stage of his career. Not only does he appear on the cover of his latest album in a thorny headpiece, but he performed at Louis Vuitton’s latest show in the same Tiffany and Co headgear late last week, as he delivered a tribute to the late Virgil Abloh from the front row. What’s more, Lamar even released the track “Crown” earlier this year, in which he muses “Heavy is the head that chose to wear the crown.”