Kendrick Lamar is known for making political statements with his award show performances, as well as his adventurous visuals, and kept the streak alive at the 2017 VMAs, performing in a laser light cage that resembled prison bars for “DNA.,” then brought out flaming, Nike Cortez-clad ninjas for “Humble.” Kendrick himself wore an orange jumpsuit and du-rag, evoking the prison motif sparked by the laser cell. Given the sample that starts “DNA.” — a news clip that remarks on his “hate the police” line from To Pimp A Butterfly — the motif was appropriate. The ninjas also climbed a flaming rigging as he spit the incendiary verse from “Humble.”
Kung-Fu Kenny’s VMA luck hasn’t always been the greatest, but if there’s one thing he never missed at, it’s effortlessly burning down stages at live performances. His first performance back at the VMAs in four years was no exception. If anyone can figure out how to run his performances backwards, there may be a possibility that it was meant to be played in reverse, the same way as his blockbuster album from earlier this year, DAMN. — I wouldn’t put it past him.
Kendrick is also nominated for several awards tonight, including Best Hip-Hop, and Video Of The Year.