Kendrick Lamar has been announced as the feature halftime performer for the 2017 college football season’s National Championship in Atlanta, per ESPN.
The man considered the “best rapper alive today” is a radical departure from the usual assortment of entertainers for college football games, which is almost exclusively country acts with artists who sport cowboy hats and sleeveless shirts.
In October 2012, with the release of his highly anticipated major-label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lamar’s appeal to the masses grew. The thought-provoking lyrics on his debut album caught the attention of hip-hop critics, as well, with MTV naming him the “Hottest MC” of 2012 — putting him in the company of other rappers who have earned the title, including Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
The “performance will be integrated” into ESPN’s broadcast, which hopefully means airing the whole thing, but probably not, but it’s a start. He’ll be playing at Centennial Olympic Park, which is not — per my calculations — inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
More from ESPN’s release:
One of the biggest artists today, Lamar will perform a medley of his hits, including songs from his latest and critically acclaimed album DAMN., which garnered seven GRAMMY® Award nominations earlier this month, bringing his total number of career nominations to 29. Adding to his remarkable year, the album won Favorite Hip-Hop Album at the 2017 American Music Awards, was recently named the Best Album of 2017 by Rolling Stone,and Lamar himself was honored as 2017 Hitmaker of the Year at Variety’s inaugural Hitmakers event.
“Having the opportunity to perform at halftime of what will surely be the best game of the year between two deserving universities is truly an honor,” said Kendrick Lamar. “Thank you, ESPN, for having me be the first halftime performer ever at the College Football Playoff National Championship.”
“In each year of the College Football Playoff, we’ve been able to build upon the experience of the last,” said Ed Erhardt, president, ESPN global sales & marketing. “This year is a true first for college football – and it makes sense that the hottest performer of the moment, Kendrick Lamar, would usher in this new era for the national championship game.”
Lamar’s special halftime performance is the latest in the ongoing collaboration between ESPN and Interscope Records, in its third consecutive year.
Platinum-selling, GRAMMY Award-winning artist Kendrick Lamar is one of the rare artists who has achieved critical and commercial success while earning the respect and support of those who inspired him. A native of Compton, California, Lamar released his debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city in October 2012 which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and earned him seven GRAMMY Award nominations. His second album, To Pimp a Butterfly, released in March 2015 immediately earned rave reviews and topped the Billboard 200 with sales of 325,000 copies within its first week, despite it coming a week early due to a technical accident. The album garnered Lamar five GRAMMY nominations with a win for Best Rap Album.
On April 14, 2017, Lamar released his fourth studio album, DAMN., which sold 603,300 copies in its first week, the largest first week of his career and any other release that year. The album shot directly to number one on the Billboard 200 where it remained for four consecutive weeks. NPR named it the album of the year, and Rolling Stone declared him to be “the greatest rapper alive.”
The CFP National Championship kicks off Monday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.