Never in my wildest of imaginations did I even think of spending my 31st birthday running madly down the middle of Sunset Boulevard, joined by hundreds of other people of all shapes and creeds participating in the same bizarre scene – a seemingly frenzied horde chasing after a flatbed truck creeping slowly along, with a live band backing up Kendrick Lamar as he performed hit after hit. But here I was, braving the velocity of the Santa Ana winds, belly filled with Korean BBQ after having had dinner, chasing down King Kendrick through the famed stretch of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood – all in the name of hip-hop.
I suffer from right knee tendinitis and am out of shape – running a mile down Sunset Boulevard in the middle of some high winds on a full stomach wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when it came to ringing in another born day. As such, the only time you’ll catch me sprinting under such conditions was if there was a zombie apocalypse, Kobe Bryant was my jogging partner or hip-hop presented to me a damn good reason to do so.
Enter Kendrick Lamar’s cryptic tweet sent out last night around 8:00PM. His instructions were to meet him at one location at 9:00PM and a second one at 9:30PM. Having just finished dinner with my girlfriend we put aside our puzzled guesses as to what this scenario would exactly be and decided to go see what it was all about. We were within reasonable distance from the locations he cited and had nothing else to do. Eff it. Kendrick’s good enough reason to possibly flip this night into the other side amazing, we thought.
9pm. meet me here. 8950 Sunset Blvd. 930pm. meet me here. 8466 Melrose Ave.
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) March 25, 2015
Ten minutes later, we found ourselves outside of a black fence enclosing what was obviously a video shoot moments before start time. We were joined by a few dozen fans who caught wind of Kendrick’s tweet, all quizzically staring past the black gates and collectively scratching our heads as to what was being shot or when Kendrick would actually come through. Through the process of keen observation and educated deduction, I surmised this much – this was probably a Reebok sponsored video shoot or commercial, what with all the people within rocking Reebok jogging gear and being instructed to run for something. The vagueness of the instructions I heard through the loud speaker were due in part to the fierce winds ripping through the night, whipping up hair, hats and whatever discernible audio I was able to distinguish. Then the truck came. It was huge – Optimus Prime would have given daps to it – a flatbed carrying a live band and K.Dot himself. Cue everyone instantly turning up as he laid into “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”.
‘This is gonna be one dope performance,’ I thought. Of course it would be. Why wouldn’t it? This is Kendrick Lamar we’re talking about. But then suddenly, things went from your run of the mill dope performance to next level unforgettable real quick – the truck he was performing on lurched forward and began to move. What followed next was an exodus of fans running towards the moving flatbed as Kendrick began to perform all the jams that earned him his crown, from “Money Trees” to “Poetic Justice” to even a cover of Tupac’s “Hail Mary”, all the while shutting down Sunset Boulevard the whole way of a three mile stretch. As evidenced by the hectic Instagram video footage I took, the experience was as if a zombie apocalypse frenzy met the premise of your typical large production music festival. Simply put, things were lit.
In the end, the cramps from eight kinds of pork belly taking all vacancy in my stomach and a parking meter needing to be re-upped did me in. You can have the last two miles Kendrick. I got my IG footage and another dope memory to add to my shelf of unforgettable memories.