Kendrick Lamar’s album “To Pimp a Butterfly” is looking like the consensus pick for the best and most important album of 2015, a standing that’s perhaps a preview of potential Grammy success. But that doesn’t mean that he’s taking a break from new music.
On Thursday night’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Lamar performed "Untitled 2,” a brand new song continuing the jazz-fusion streak that pinned “Butterfly” together.
While his stage presence wasn’t quite as incendiary as on some of his other recent TV performances -- namely, his version of “Alright” performed atop a cop car at the BET Awards -- it was still a crystal-clear showcase of his musicality and live-set virtuosity.
“Tonight Show’s” bandleader, Questlove, had alluded to the prospect of new music from Lamar, who has used live television as a launching point for other freshly debuted singles (Lamar is also slated for an “Austin City Limits” appearance Saturday night).
Lamar sat down with Fallon for a relatively breezy chat about their childhood gaming hobbies and Lamar’s prospects at the Grammys. This year, Lamar has the most nominations for a rapper in Grammy history (a nod that maybe constitutes a subtle apology for his 2014 Grammy loss to Macklemore). But clearly it hasn’t softened his work ethic.
“I wouldn’t want to go past that, though,” Lamar said of Michael Jackson’s 12 nominations for “Thriller.” “I can’t fathom being as great as Michael without putting out the work.”
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