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‘Not Like Us:’ Kendrick Lamar Unifies Los Angeles In A One-Night-Only Juneteenth Concert, Placing West Coast Unity At the Forefront

“The Pop Out” wasn’t just a showcase of the breadth of talent and music that Los Angeles has to offer—it was a cultural renaissance, a presentation of art bursting with unity and West Coast pride. In a city with so much pain and suffering throughout history, “The Pop Out” showed that community is everything.

Photo by Taylor Marie Contarino

“Tonight is going down in history,” was the consensus murmured throughout the crowds of attendees exiting the Kia Forum on Wednesday evening as Kendrick Lamar cemented his legacy status as being one of the “greatest of all times” in the hip-hop music scene. 

On Juneteenth, Kendrick Lamar hosted a one-off concert event that brought together more than two dozen L.A. artists in a live show at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA., and on Amazon Music screens streaming worldwide.

For many attendees, The Pop Out Fan represented much more than good music and fun times with friends.

Photo by Taylor Marie Contarino for L.A. TACO.

Fan and attendee Ryan remarked, "it took all that time, all of that pain and sacrifice, to end up in this place where we can be right here… For me, it’s everything.”

“This is the lap - the victory lap,” finished Ryan before heading inside the concert.

In just under four hours, Kendrick Lamar unified the city of Los Angeles through music. Over two dozen LA artists joined Kendrick on stage on Wednesday evening to celebrate Juneteenth and collective unity for West Coast music.

Some of the artists who joined Kendrick center-stage in the middle of the Kia Forum were Dr. Dre, Tyler The Creator, Steve Lacy, Dom Kennedy, Ty Dolla $ign, YG, Roddy Ricch, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Westside Boogie, OHGEESY, Kalan, FrFr, and more.

Special guests included dancer and krumping pioneer Tommy The Clown and fellow dancers, some of whom came up on stage from the audience at Kendrick’s request to have “all sections” represented.

Some of the songs that Kendrick performed were: “euphoria,” “Like That,” “6:16 in LA,” and “Not Like Us,” all of which were performed for the first time during the night’s set.

Some artists have this impeccable aura about them, artists who can move mountains and bring people together in a way that can be unlikely and almost impossible at times. Kendrick Lamar is one of them, pioneering a legacy of being a trailblazer of his generation. Particularly for the new generation of “Gen Z’ers,” Kendrick’s effect is more prominent than ever. 

In a city with a legacy pioneered by some of the most legendary artists of all time, the “new generation” bears witness to what some see as representative of LA’s musical greatness. 

“He’s the most LA rapper I could ever think about… When I think of L.A., I think of Kendrick Lamar,” described Joel Gonzales, a young fan waiting outside for the arena for the show to begin on Wednesday afternoon.   

On the evening of federal holiday Juneteenth, it seemed like almost everyone was Team Kendrick—looking throughout the crowd, not a face was buried in a phone, and no one seemed to have been distracted by anything other than what was right in front of them. 

Looking at what Kendrick did - it’s not difficult to see why the world is on his side. 

“This is exactly how our fallen soldiers would want to see us,” described Kendrick, who brought together prominent Los Angeles gangs onto one stage in a remarkable show of West Coast unity and solidarity that just hasn’t been seen anywhere else.  

He encouraged his fellow artists to chant “One West” as they smiled for a group photo that was taken on social media by storm, becoming a symbol of unity and West Coast greatness.

Fans like Cameron, from the Bay Area, remarked that spending Juneteenth with Kendrick Lamar “meant the world” to him, and he felt compelled to get tickets as soon as the show was announced.

Kendrick also brought out budding L.A. talent, including Jason Martin, 310babii, and Zoe Osama.

Midway through the show, the arena lit up with lighters and phone cameras in honor of the late Nipsey Hussle. Before his passing in 2019, Nipsey's music breathed life and a sense of community into Los Angeles. Nipsey was a huge proponent of community solidarity in the city, and Kendrick ensured that his legacy lived on within a set that displayed remarkable unity.

Photo by Taylor Marie Contarino for L.A. TACO.
Photo by Taylor Marie Contarino for L.A. TACO.

Kendrick’s hit record “Not Like Us,” which dropped during the climax of what we know as the “rap beef” between Kendrick and Drake, was performed five times—in the end, the viral song set the scene for a powerful union among some of the legendary artists that joined Kendrick on stage and performed hits.

The DJs for the night included DJ Hed and Mustard, who is well known for producing the single that the city can’t stay away from—“Not Like Us.” The evening’s performance marked the first time Kendrick performed the song live and confirmed assertions that crowds had resonated with the track so passionately.

“The Pop Out” wasn’t just a showcase of the breadth of talent and music that Los Angeles has to offer—it was a cultural renaissance, a presentation of art bursting with unity and West Coast pride. In a city with so much pain and suffering throughout history, “The Pop Out” showed that community is everything. 

Towards the show's end, Kendrick seemingly ended the “rap beef” that had broken out earlier this year. He described how the evening’s show meant so much more than a song, a winner, or a fleeting feeling of triumph.

“The Pop Out” was where everyone could band together on one stage, if not just for one night—in a stunning display of unity, pride, and community in an evening many believe will go down in history books.

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