Everything That Happened at Kendrick Lamar’s Juneteenth Concert

In his first live performance since his beef with Drake, Kendrick Lamar took the stage in Los Angeles on Juneteenth in a historic, electrifying evening filled with special guests, exhilarated fans, and continued jabs at his arch-rival. 

The one-off concert titled The Pop Out — Ken and Friends, presented by pgLang and Free Lunch was jam-packed with a long line-up of artists, mostly from L.A. and California, who performed in Lamar’s hometown at the Kia Forum. From top to bottom, the entire event was a love letter to West Coast hip-hop culture, including a special appearance from Dr. Dre himself.

Before the doors even opened for the highly anticipated show, the crowd was stimulated and curious about what was to come for the rest of the evening. Lines started forming around the venue on Wednesday morning, with people dressed in their own personally designed merch.

The Pop Out, a nod to a lyric from Lamar’s hit single and diss track “Not Like Us,” sold out almost immediately when tickets went on sale, an indicator that fans were more than hyped to witness Lamar on stage following his heightened sparring match with Drake. For those who weren’t lucky enough to snag tickets to the actual event, the concert also live-streamed on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch.

After spending over $1,500 on a pair of tickets, a father and son duo Damien and Dominic Camarena who are both born and raised in Los Angeles stood in a line outside of The Forum starting at 10:30 in the morning to see Lamar perform. Standing in the mid-afternoon heat before the doors opened, Dominic gushed, “I was really young when I got put on to Kendrick. I was about 9 years old, so just being here with my dad is really special because I got put on by him.”

It was already a party outside of The Forum prior to the concert; while people were waiting around, they were able to hip up several merch stands, photo ops, and food and beverage stations. There was even a voter registration station, courtesy of HeadCount, encouraging concertgoers to make sure they’re all set to vote in November.

Once the lights went down close to 4:30 pm PT, DJ Hed kicked off the evening by introducing the crowd to a slew of West Coast artists who each graced the stage for about one or two songs each. From Remble, Ray Vaughn, and Cuzzos, to Westside Boogie, Zoe Osama, Bino Rideaux, Ohgeesy, and Jason Martin, The Pop Out commenced with nearly a dozen artists who all stem from California roots, setting the vibe for the rest of the night.

Hitmaker and L.A. native DJ Mustard, who produced the beat behind Lamar’s “Not Like Us,” delivered a set of his popular songs and also brought out iconic artists like Dom Kennedy, Tyler the Creator, YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Blxst, and Roddy Rich. Not to mention, Mustard played a trio of Nipsey Hussle tracks in honor of the late L.A. rapper and inspired everyone to raise their phones and turn their camera lights on.

In anticipation of Lamar’s appearance, fans chanted “Kendrick” and “OV-ho” throughout the sold-out arena without being prompted. As the rapper rose from the bottom of the stage, the audience was exhilarated that his first song of choice was “Euphoria,” setting off an energy that reverberated throughout the entire Forum. Lamar delivered a selection of his classic hits — including “Loyalty,” “ELEMENT,” “Alright,” and “Swimming Pools” — and was also joined on stage by collaborators Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and none other than Dr. Dre.

“This shit we have going on tonight is bigger than me,” Lamar told the crowd.

To cap off the night, Lamar performed his viral hit “Not Like Us,” a total of five times. The crowd exploded with enthusiasm when the beat dropped and Dr. Dre whispered, “I see dead people,” introducing Lamar’s first live performance of what’s arguably the song of the summer (if you talk to anyone who listens to hip hop). “Y’all ain’t gonna let nobody disrespect the West Coast, huh?” Lamar asked his loyal listeners, with each performance of the song growing in fervor. Five times wasn’t enough for the crowd who was entranced with Lamar’s every word, having already memorized the lyrics to the number one charting diss track. 

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Interrupting fans reciting the lyrics to “Not Like Us,” Lamar brought out the dozens of artists who showed up to The Pop Out so they could all share the stage and celebrate together. Gathering for a final photo of the night, Lamar said, “Let them see this. We put this together with peace.”

As if Lamar hadn’t already solidified his place as winner of the rap beef, Wednesday night’s show served as a victory lap.

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