US rapper Kendrick Lamar dazzles as he shares South Africa stage with local artists

Grammy award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar performs at the inaugural Hey Neighbour Festival in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Mogomotsi Magome)
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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar has drawn raves in South Africa as a headliner at a music festival there over the weekend.

Lamar told the crowd at the Hey Neighbor festival that his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly was inspired by his first visit to South Africa.

“It was 2014 when I first came to South Africa, right, and that inspired a particular album, one of my most favorite albums,” he said.

Lamar also performed in the Rwandan capital of Kigali last week.

“It is not just music, it is poetry,” festival attendee Tshepo Sedikwe said of the rapper.

The festival also saw performances from Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. and Grammy-nominated Khalid.

Organizers have said they hope to make the festival one of the biggest on the African continent and one where international acts perform alongside talented local musicians.

The festival provided a platform for artists who have flourished with the popularity of amapiano and Afrobeats.

South African amapiano artists Musa Keys and Tyla, who have both been nominated in the Best African Music Performance category at the 2024 Grammys, also performed at the festival.


This version corrects to say Khalid is Grammy-nominated, not a Grammy winner.