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Kendrick Lamar Kills It at Grammys 2016 With Politically Charged Performance

Damn. Kendrick Lamar didn’t hold back during his riveting performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards on Monday, February 15, at the Staples Center in L.A. The rapper shut down the entirety of the audience with his powerful presence and words — and Twitter reacted accordingly.

Lamar’s politically charged performance kicked off with a stunning visual, with the rapper and his backup dancers handcuffed and shuffling across the stage à la a prison chain gang.

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The lyricist slowly slid his handcuffed wrists around the mic stand before launching straight into “The Blacker the Berry.” As the song grew increasingly heated, Lamar’s dancers broke free from their chains and began to move around the stage in glow-in-the-dark outfits, to the cheers and applause of the crowd.

The 11-time Grammy nominee then switched up his backdrop to a giant, flaming bonfire and launched into his hit “Alright” as he performed alongside African dancers.

“I’m African American, I’m African,” Lamar rapped at one point. “I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village / Pardon my residence / Came from the bottom of mankind / My hair is nappy, my d–k is big, my nose is round and wide / You hate me don’t you?”

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The rapper’s passionate performance ended with him silhouetted against a giant lit-up map of Africa, with the word “Compton” emblazoned through the middle.

At the time of his performance, Lamar, 28, had already taken home five awards, including best rap album for To Pimp a Butterfly.

Last month, the rapper opened up to The New York Times about the major influence his album has had on the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I’d go in certain parts of the world, and they were singing it in the streets,” he said of “Alright,” which became an unofficial anthem for the movement. “When it’s outside of the concerts, then you know it’s a little bit more deep-rooted than just a song. It’s more than just a piece of a record. It’s something that people live by — your words.”

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