REVIEW: Kendrick Lamar makes big steps in the Golden 1 Center

‘The Big Steppers Tour’ brings the Grammy award winning artist to Sacramento


Jenelle Lum

Grammy award winning rapper, Kendrick Lamar performs at the Golden 1 Center on Aug. 31, 2022. Lamar’s “The Big Steppers Tour” made a stop in Sacramento with opening artists Tanna Leone and Baby Keem.

Jenelle Lum, Arts & Entertainment editor

Sounds of excited fans echoed throughout the Golden 1 Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30. They chanted Kendrick Lamar’s name and screamed as the lights went dim.

A white curtain hung on the stage in the shape of a box to increase the anticipation for the beginning of the show. The main stage was extended by a thin walkway to a smaller stage across the arena. Lamar utilized the entire space in the Golden 1 Center to enhance his performance.

Lamar’s “The Big Steppers Tour” made a stop in Sacramento with opening artists Tanna Leone and Baby Keem, who is Lamar’s cousin.

Lamar is a Grammy award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper who grew up in Compton, California. His career started in 2004 when he performed under the stage name, K-Dot and made his debut in 2012

Since Lamar’s debut, he has won over 14 Grammys, according to the Grammy Awards website and continues to receive nominations for his work. His latest album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” was released in May. 


The piano intro of “We Cry Together” started the show with projections on the screens. Shortly after, the lights went off.

Dancers dressed in suits took the walkway and made their way to the main stage. The curtain lifted and a spotlight shined on Lamar, who began to play the piano.

“United in Grief” was the first song, where Lamar brought a ventriloquist doll out with him while he was rapping.

Throughout the show, various visual effects appeared including fire, projections on the screens and at one point, Lamar rapped above the crowd while lifted in a box. At different times during the evening, dancers came out and performed alongside him. 

Lamar performed songs from his current album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” and, from past albums, “DAMN.,” “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and “To Pimp a Butterfly.” He had an energetic stage presence and took few breaks between his songs.

“We’ve been all the way around the world and back, but it’s nothing like being back home,” Lamar said. He then proceeded to rap “Purple Hearts” and encouraged the audience to sing along.


The show attracted an enthusiastic crowd who made their voices heard. When the artists called out to the audience to use their flashlights, the arena flooded with light. Everyone was in high spirits and it was as if a community was coming together to enjoy seeing one of their favorite rappers. 

Opening act Leone started the show with “Picasso,” which made the audience and even some of the Golden 1 Center staff dance as they directed attendees to their seats. 

Baby Keem attracted a large crowd who were bopping to his songs. During Lamar’s set, Baby Keem came out for their Grammy Award winning song for Best Rap Performance “family ties” and they chased each other around the stage.

During the performance, Lamar yelled that Baby Keem was chasing him and it made the crowd laugh.

The night ended with “Mr. Morale” and “Savior.” Lamar performed 28 songs altogether, which summarized his music throughout the years.