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Most artists have “made it” when they are respected by the legends who came before them and their peers who come up with them. During Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the “Made In America” festival, it became evident that he garnered respect from more than just the fans in attendance.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé, situated in a V.I.P. booth at the opposite end of the stage, stood on their feet, and nodded their heads during Kendrick Lamar’s entire 45 minute set. Moreover, Wiz Khalifa, scheduled to perform after Lamar, peeked through a backstage gate to witness the performance before preparing for his set.

Wearing a white t-shirt and a black L.A. Dodgers cap, Kendrick Lamar entered the stage to a thunderous applause and screams. He opened with “Backseat Freestyle” and segued into “F— Problems.” Kendrick Lamar then went into “Money Trees” and prompted fans to yell the hook, “It goes Halle Berry, or hallelujah, pick your poison tell me what you doing, everybody gon’ respect the shooter, but the one in front of the gun lives forever.”

The crowd took their enthusiasm to another level when he rapped his hit single, “B— Don’t Kill My Vibe.” However, he saved his most raucous performance for last. Encouraging crowd participation, Kendrick Lamar told fans to lose control as he performed a version of “M.A.A.D. City” that contained elements of rock, southern bounce and West Coast hip-hop.

Several weeks ago, Kendrick Lamar made claim that he was the best rapper of this generation on the song, “Control.” Of course, it is a statement that can be argued. However, if his live performance serves as an indication of where he stands when mentioned with his rap peers, he is at the top or inching closer to the crown. Just ask Jay Z.

Photo: Joi Pearson Photography

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.