Staff Pick: Kendrick Lamar, breakout rap star to play two Ohio colleges this week

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From the April 11, 2013 edition

With good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar made one of last year’s most backward-looking, forward-thinking records, an album steeped in hip-hop history, couched in luxuriant production and starring an introspective emcee so technically marvelous he makes leaping across multiple personas in double time seem as easy as Supermanning that ho. (Though I think we can all agree 2011’s “A.D.H.D.” is still his best song, right? Right.)

Not only did m.A.A.d. city rocket to the top of critics’ lists, its 250,000-plus first-week sales would have easily secured No. 1 had it not debuted against Taylor Swift’s record-breaking, TRL-era numbers. And as Kendrick notes on his Jay-Z-assisted “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” remix, he went gold — ahem, “Trinidad James” — in only four weeks.

That means Kendrick is in heavy demand this year, so he’s embarking on one of the busiest touring schedules of any performer alive. He’ll do two Ohio gigs this week, but in order to see him you either have to be a college student or willing to hang with them.

Thursday, he plays LC Pavilion with DJ superstar Steve Aoki, but only Ohio State students can get in. It’s a benefit for Nationwide Children’s Hospital sponsored by the Ohio Union Activities Board. Saturday, Kendrick and Aoki co-headline 11Fest in Athens along with a slew of other DJs, rappers and bands. Tickets will run you $30 plus the gas to drive to Athens, which is a steal to see this guy in his prime.