Kendrick Lamar comes back to Columbus to rap for fans he created with early albums. 

Generally, I’d consider a Saturday night spent standing in the cold rain a bad one. I try to avoid spending time in dark parking lots, and I know it’s time to go home to my warm bed when I start to feel my foundation and eyeliner run down my face.

I wouldn’t deal with any of that if I didn’t already know what I was waiting for — an insane performance from Kendrick Lamar at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in Columbus.

He came on stage to ”Money Trees,” and spent most of his time on good kid, m.A.A.d. city hits.

If you follow Lamar’s discography, you know it’s rare if he plateaus. Every album he’s released improves upon the previous, and refines the complex tales he raps. The most recent journey he takes his listeners is To Pimp a Butterfly, which dropped in March. The album topped Billboard almost instantly from its fantastic production, easy singles, and intense spoken word.

Since TPAB was fresh out, I was hoping to hear more of that album in Columbus. I knew my two favorites — “Institutionalized” and “Complexion” — were out of the question since he only played the songs that fans would demand off the new album: “King Kunta,” “Hood Politics,” “i” and “Alright.”

He didn’t freestyle or bring out an unreleased song. The setlist — “Money Trees,” “Backseat Freestyle,” “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” — it was for the people who were there from the start, where he dubbed those fans “Day Ones.”

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Lamar did the tactic where he let the audience do the rapping as he pointed the microphone to the crowd. It was expected for some of the well-known songs, but became an annoyance.

Yes I can sing all the lyrics to the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” song. But if I’d paid money to sit in the Ellen Show crowd for a Will Smith performance, I’d like to hear him sing it.

After he spat out “m.A.A.d. city,” he challenged an audience member to rap the whole thing. He pulls this guy Trey, dubbed “Trigger Trey” by Lamar, out of the crowd, and Trigger Trey raps well enough to earn a wad of cash from some of the Top Dawg Entertainment reps on the stage. All of us in the crowd got a little icy when a second guy, NaNa, tried to take Trey’s spotlight, rapping a Lamar freestyle piece and showing off an original freestyle poem.

Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s label, was milking the crowd too, blasting their name after almost every song. But it’s just another small frustration to put up with to support an insanely talented artist who always delivers for his fans.

But even as the audience contested, Lamar puts his hand out to calm them — he wanted to hear what Nana said, and promised him a few minutes of conversation after the show. At this point in his fame, Lamar could just get on stage, phone in his hits for 40 minutes and then leave, but he’d still sell out. But it’s moments like this that convinced me he cares about the people getting rained on in the back of the LC Pavilion.

It seems like he forgot about the crazed 11Fest attendees who threw beers, knocked each other over and cut his performance short in Athens in 2013 — probably for the best.

Lamar’s shows click because he’s in the same groove as the crowd. That’s the beauty of seeing a popular rapper perform: everyone knows the songs, so everyone’s jamming for the entire set.

@daniellerose84

dk123111@ohio.edu