• Kendrick Lamar performs at the 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Kendrick Lamar jolted the Grammy Awards with a compelling message during his two-song medley on Monday night.
Andrea Booth

17 Feb 2016 - 12:16 PM  UPDATED 17 Feb 2016 - 2:10 PM

Compton-born Kendrick Lamar, 29, used his performance of 'The Blacker The Berry' and 'Alright' to unapologetically resurface the injustice experienced by the black community in America.

"You hate my people, I can tell cause it's threats when I see you," and "that's what you're telling me, penitentiary would only hire me", Lamar - dripped in chains and swathed in inmate clothes - performed "The Blacker The Berry", harmonised by his saxophone player weeping phrases from a staged prison cell.

The anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement, 'Alright', back dropped with a storm of flames and tribal dancing, reached a crescendo as frenzied strobe beams burst across Lamar's face, an allusion to the explosion of racial tension that is being felt across the states.  

The audience met his energy with the black power salute.

Soon after the show, the White House gave him its own salute on Twitter.

In January, US President Barack Obama talked with the young rapper at the White House, which inspired the spoken word 'Pay it Forward'.


Lamar, who took home five Grammy Awards from 11 nominations, has been stretching boundaries on the music scene from his politically charged Grammy's performance to spoken word compositions including in 'For Free'.

The songs that feature in the 2016 Grammy Awards Best Rap Album To Pimp a Butterfly, span reverberations of soul, rap, hip-hop, funk, jazz and poetry.

Grammy's producer Ken Ehrlich told Billboard on the night that Lamar wanted his Grammy performance to "give people something to think and talk about."

"It is overtly political and it is overtly provocative," he says.

"Kendrick came to us and said that we live in a time where these issues confront us every day and that it's important that they be given a public forum."

"And he would like to use his x number of minutes to create a great performance that is consistent with his this year."

The Grammy Awards paid tribute to Kendrick Lamar ahead of the awards presentation in this video about how Compton in California inspired his art.