[MUSIC] Wednesday, May 22
There are three dominant rapper archetypes in Los Angeles: The gangbanger (Dr. Dre), the indie kid (Tyler the Creator) and the thoughtful (or “conscious,” per common parlance) MC, a designation we can safely assign to Kendrick Lamar. This, despite his affiliation with Dr. Dre (who signed him to his Aftermath imprint), and whatever associations come from being a Compton rapper. But young Lamar didn’t aspire to be the next Eazy-E, or even the next Dre. He was an exemplary student; he didn’t reject his family; and his primary inspiration was actually Tupac Shakur, who balanced his thug life narratives with those from his spiritual and reflective side.
Lamar comes to the Boulevard Pool stage — in a rare hip-hop booking for The Cosmopolitan — still on the campaign for last October’s appropriately titled good kid, m.a.a.d city, his commercial breakout album. There’s plenty of material from that coming-of-age work to anticipate, including “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” (Lamar rapping over The Chromatics’ “Cherry,” of all things), the uniquely syncopated teen-dream “Backseat Freestyle,” and “Poetic Justice,” its Janet Jackson sample trumping its Drake guest rap. But the bonus here will be who Lamar brings in tow: his Black Hippy collaborators Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q. That collective has already headlined rap festivals ahead of releasing its debut album, of which ticketholding fans may get a taste. 8 p.m.; Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South, www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, $40.