Thursday evening, Kendrick Lamar took the stage at Toronto's We Day festival and performed his new single "i" for the first time in front of twenty-thousand fans. Backed by a full band, he performs enthusiastic and inspired, and converts a few stiff bodies by the second hook. "i" will be a major record: a step up and to the left for a Compton MC that has nothing left to prove to rap purists. Initial comparisons were made to Nas' "I Can," for its positive message of self-love and growth, but a closer sibling might be "If I Ruled the World": a bow to traditional Black pop, spearheading a sophomore album campaign, that was initially met with screw-faces but eventually became a catalogue staple. "Never Catch Me" will suffice in the mean time.
Watch Kendrick Lamar Perform “i” in Toronto
Kendrick brings his new single to life for the first time.
Photographer Geordie Wood