Kendrick Lamar has a sense of humor, but he isn’t joking. The Compton, California rapper — agreeing that he describes himself instead as a “writer” — appeared on The Colbert Report last night as the Comedy Central show’s last musical guest (Paul McCartney, Jack White and Nas opened for him, as soon-to-be CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert pointed out).
The good kid, m.A.A.d city wordsmith played it straight during Colbert’s patented brand of ridiculous questions, responding to an inquiry about why his rap alias is a mix of Anna Kendrick and Senator Lamar Alexander by saying he wanted to “stay true” to himself, but Lamar was visibly cracking up over his interviewer’s clowning about good kid‘s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” possibly being licensed to a liquor company.
Then Lamar debuted only his second new song under his own, er, rap alias this year, after the self-affirming, Isley Brothers-interpolating “i.” The untitled work surrounded K-Dot’s slow-boil rapping with organ stabs, finger snaps, call-and-response female backing vocals and introspective saxophone. “What the black man say?” Lamar concludes. “Tell ‘em we don’t die.” Why, this Colbert fellow’s show might be serious, after all.
Elsewhere on late night, Charli XCX performed her “we-got-the-beat feminist party-plan” of a new album Sucker‘s “Need Ur Love,” which always reminds me (in a good way) of Cults‘ ’60s girl-group updates; Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, who collaborated on the song, joined her on Late Show with David Letterman. Meanwhile, on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Nicki Minaj sat down for an interview and performed her new album The Pinkprint‘s Skylar Grey-fronted confessional “Bed of Lies“; Justin Timberlake also made an unannounced appearance in a sketch.
Watch it all below.
Kendrick Lamar interview on The Colbert Report
Kendrick Lamar, “Untitled” on The Colbert Report
Charli XCX, “Need Ur Luv” on Late Show with David Letterman
Nicki Minaj, “Bed of Lies” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Nicki MInaj interview on The Tonight Show
Nicki Minaj interview on The Tonight Show, continued
Justin Timberlake sketch on The Tonight Show