Kung Fu Kenny might be kicking it in KC this summer.
According to a source close to the matter, Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming tour in support of his “Damn.” album has sold so well that his camp is now gauging interest in whether more cities could be added after his final stop in Los Angeles in August.
Last week, KPRS DJ Brian B. Shynin spilled the beans on Twitter, saying the Sprint Center stop is Aug. 16.
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Which seemed strange considering the Coachella headliner, No. 1 Billboard artist and hip-hop juggernaut lists his tour’s final stop as Aug. 9 in his hometown of Los Angeles.
“At this time, Sprint Center is unable to confirm or deny a date for the Kendrick Lamar tour,” said Shani Tate, the Sprint Center’s Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Ticket Sales. “Coming off an amazing 2016 and having seen him here twice before (opening for Drake in 2012 and Kanye in 2013), clearly Sprint Center would be delighted to be considered for a date and Kansas City would definitely show up.”
To clarify: We’re not saying this is true, but we’re not saying it isn’t true either. Tate says the Sprint Center’s focus remains fixed primarily on its current (and confirmed) slate, including the Nobody’s Safe Tour with Future, Migos and Torey Lanez on June 4.
In April, on the heels of his massively successful fourth solo album, “Damn.,” Lamar announced the tour on Twitter with just 17 dates starting July 12 in Phoenix. A few days later the tour added three more shows: one additional stop at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and two extra shows at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to close out the tour.
There’s been no official word on any more dates. But a visit to Kansas City this year makes sense:
▪ As Tate said, Lamar came to the Sprint Center in 2012 as an opener for Drake on his The Club Paradise Tour and again in 2013 as an opener on Kanye West’s Yeezus Tour. He also headlined a 2012 show at the Midland.
▪ Last month, Lamar released his “DNA” music video, which co-starred and was inspired by KC native Don Cheadle — who played Kenny in “Rush Hour 2,” the role that gave rise to Lamar’s alter ego, Kung Fu Kenny.
▪ And Lamar offered a verse on KC rap artist Gee Watts’ song “Watts R.I.O.T.” from his 2013 “Watts Up” mixtape.
Lamar debuted in 2011 with “Section.80,” and ascended to hip-hop’s A-class after his second album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” considered one of the few classic rap albums of the 21st century. Lamar followed in 2015 with “To Pimp a Butterfly,” a thunderous, dyspeptic funk-rap album and Grammy nominee for album of the year. “Damn.” has been similarly well-received both critically and commercially. With more than 350,000 copies sold and over 340 million streams, it enjoyed the largest sales debut for an album in the U.S. this year. This is Lamar’s first major headlining tour.
The tour features rappers Travis Scott, who has a sold-out show May 15 at the Uptown Theater, and hip-hop newcomer D.R.A.M., who scored his first No. 1 single last year with “Broccoli,” his collaboration with Atlanta sensation Lil Yachty.
So hold your breath, Kansas City. The biggest rap tour on the planet just might be coming through our town, but maybe hold off on the celebration just yet and until the news becomes official. Take Lamar’s advice:
“Hold up, be humble.”