Sure, the Beatles performed, and Beyonce redefined “Bootylicious,” but if you ask me the best performance of the Grammys on Jan. 26 was one of the most unlikely — when Kendrick and Imagine Dragons staged a live mashup of their songs.
As a huge Kendrick Lamar fan (he was robbed last night, even Macklemore knows it), I was a little weary about pairing him up with the alternative, drum-pounding rock band Imagine Dragons at the Grammys on Jan. 26, but it turns out I was stupid to be a Doubting Thomas. Like, really stupid.
Kendrick Lamar & Imagine Dragons Own The Grammys
I guess I was just having trouble understanding how K.Dot and the guys of Imagine Dragons were going to do it. But I should’ve listened to Grammys Rule No. 1: Never Bet Against Kendrick Lamar. Everything the guy touches turns to gold (if you need an example, I have 12 — every song on Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City).
The performance started with Dan Reynolds singing the opening lines of “Radioactive” a cappella. Little did we know Kendrick was lurking on stage in a white hooded bodysuit though, and “Radioactive” abruptly transitioned into Kendrick’s fierce “m.A.A.d. city,” with those distinguishing “Yawk Yawk Yawk Yawks!”
Kendrick picked the perfect song to mash with Imagine Dragons’ style — “m.A.A.d. city” is raucous and aggressive, and was only helped by the Dragons’ (somewhat overindulgent?) penchant for drum-bashing.
And after letting Kendrick do his thing on his verses, the band then seamlessly transitioned back into the chorus of “Radioactive,” before a grand finale that included a Kendrick freestyle, an explosion of paint (I think?), and even some drum-banging courtesy of K.Dot.
Kendrick Lamar & Imagine Dragons: The Latest Legendary Grammys Performance
The Grammys can be laborious — last night’s ceremony was way longer than The Wolf of Wall Street — but performances like this one is why they’re worthwhile. The show brings people from different corners of the music universe — like Eminem and Elton John in 2001, or Lauryn Hill and Carlos Santana in 1999 — and creates aural concoctions that you’d never dream of.
Kendrick and Imagine Dragon’s performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was one of those moments that came out of nowhere, and it’ll transcend the night and be remembered for years to come.
The only thing left to say is YAWK YAWK YAWK YAWK!
— Andrew Gruttadaro