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How a Drake Diss Track Highlighted Kendrick Lamar’s Juneteenth Unity Concert

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Image Credit: Hypebeast

Kendrick Lamar assembled over 25 Los Angeles-based musicians for an incredible Juneteenth concert, showcasing their unity and musical brilliance. The concert, staged at the Kia Forum in Inglewood and streamed live on Amazon, had both musical celebrations and specific moments of rap rivalry, most notably Lamar’s continuing battle with Drake.

Celebrating Unity Amidst Rivalry
The evening began with Kendrick Lamar’s intense performance of “Euphoria,” a diss track aimed at Drake, setting the tone for a night that would intertwine personal beef with broader themes of community and unity. As Lamar addressed the crowd, he emphasized the significance of the gathering, urging everyone on stage to say “One West” in a show of solidarity. “This is unity, y’all just don’t know man,” he remarked, highlighting the gathering’s symbolic importance as a celebration of West Coast talent.

The concert featured an impressive array of performers, each contributing to the night’s vibrant energy. Among those who took the stage were Tyler, the Creator, YG, Roddy Ricch, Ty Dolla $ign, Dom Kennedy, and Steve Lacy. The performances spanned a wide range of styles and genres, unified by their shared West Coast roots. A special set by DJ Mustard included a poignant tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle, further underscoring the event’s emphasis on community and remembrance.

Lamar also reunited with Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock, his longtime collaborators in the hip-hop supergroup Black Hippy. The reunion was a nostalgic highlight for many fans, harking back to the group’s influential days under the Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) label.

Adding to the night’s star power, Dr. Dre made a notable appearance, performing his classics “Still D.R.E.” and “California Love.” His presence was a powerful nod to the legacy of West Coast hip-hop, seamlessly bridging the past and present of the genre. Dre’s introduction of Lamar’s final performance of the night set the stage for a dramatic and highly charged encore.

The Drake Diss Track
Lamar’s set culminated with a dramatic performance of his viral Drake diss track, “Not Like Us.” The track, known for its sharp lyrics and biting critique, was performed five times, with Lamar emphasizing its most pointed lines. “Y’all ain’t gonna let anyone disrespect the West Coast, huh?” he shouted to the crowd, reinforcing the regional pride and loyalty that characterized the evening. The repeated refrain, “Tryna strike a chord and it’s probably A minor,” resonated strongly with the audience, many of whom chanted lyrics from the track throughout the night.

Powerful Performances and Community Spirit
Outside of his direct jabs at Drake, Lamar maintained a high-energy performance, delivering hits like “M.A.A.d City,” “Be Humble,” “DNA,” “Element.,” “Money Trees,” “Swimming Pools,” “King Kunta,” and “King’s Dead.” Each song was met with enthusiastic responses from the crowd, further electrifying the atmosphere.

The concert began with opening acts by 15 local L.A. artists, including Ray Vaughn, Cuzzos, Westside Boogie, Zoe Osama, RJMRLA, OhGeesy, and Jason Martin. These performances set the stage for the main event, showcasing the depth and diversity of talent within the local music scene.

As the concert drew to a close, Lamar brought the performers back on stage for a final moment of unity. “Let them see this,” he urged, highlighting the peaceful and collaborative spirit of the event. The gathering of artists from various neighborhoods and affiliations was a powerful visual statement of unity and mutual respect.

“We put this together with peace…I promise this won’t be the last of us,” Lamar declared, hinting at future collaborations and continued efforts to unify the West Coast music scene. His words echoed the event’s overarching message: despite personal rivalries and industry challenges, the power of music and community remains a unifying force.

Kendrick Lamar’s Juneteenth concert was more than just a showcase of musical talent; it was a powerful statement of unity, respect, and regional pride. By bringing together a diverse group of artists and emphasizing themes of peace and community, Lamar highlighted the strength and resilience of the West Coast music scene. As fans look forward to future events, this concert stands as a testament to the enduring power of music to bring people together, even in the face of rivalry and competition.

This celebration of unity through music serves as a reminder of the cultural richness and creative spirit that define Los Angeles, setting a powerful precedent for future events and collaborations in the music industry.

This story was originally featured on Hollywood Reporter

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