A Kendrick Lamar Insider Reveals Hidden Messages In His 2016 Grammy Performance

(AllHipHop News) Kendrick Lamar further stamped his name as one of the leading voices in Hip Hop with his show-stealing performance at this year’s Grammy awards. The Top Dawg Entertainment emcee’s presentation was an artistic statement about prison reform, police brutality, and black pride. But was there more secret gems to the “Alright” rhymer’s set?

[ALSO READ: Celebrities React To Kendrick Lamar’s Performance At The 2016 Grammys]

Billboard spoke with Kendrick’s friend and stylist Dianne Garcia about the Grammy night performance. The Los Angeles native addressed how involved K. Dot was in the creative process.

“He was involved in the sense that he knew exactly what he wanted. He showed me a photo of the prisoners and was like ‘This is my inspiration’. There were these guys walking in a chain gang and he said ‘I want them to look like this,'” said Garcia. “And I knew that he wanted the African guys to glow in the dark because they were going to go into a sequence where everything was going to be dark and they were going be lit with UV lights.”


The African themed portion of the performance featuring body paint was inspired by Maasai warriors. The Nilotic ethnic group inhabits Kenya and Tanzania. Another African culture served as a reference for the female dancers as well.

“You can’t really see it onstage but the girls, the dancers, they have red paint painted all over their body and that’s inspired specifically by the Himba tribe in Northern Namibia. They wear this red paint that’s supposed to represent the color of the earth and the blood,” explained Garcia. “And we picked the Himba tribe basically because [they are] really strong women who do all the labor work while taking care of their own homes and all this stuff while the men are out herding cattle and doing politics.”

As for the prisoner part of the set, Lamar and Garcia embedded layers of symbolism into the outfits worn by the dancers. TDE was written on the back of each performer in reflective 3M Paint. In addition, the inmates’ prison numbers represented Nat Turner’s famous slave revolt which took place August 21-23, 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia.

[ALSO READ: Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” Sees Over 400% Sales Increase Following Grammys Broadcast]

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62 Responses to “A Kendrick Lamar Insider Reveals Hidden Messages In His 2016 Grammy Performance”

  1. Black Jay Supreme

    Wow. So AHH is stealing stories from Billboard now? This sh*t was published by Billboard yesterday. Not only are you late, you guys stole the story. 😂😂😂 Your office is nothing but a crew full of hacks.

    • Yohance

      We did not “steal” this story. Billboard is clearly cited in the article with a link provided to the original article on their site. In case you’re unaware, websites quote other websites all the time. Even Billboard does it. There are numerous stories originally reported by AHH that have been picked up by other outlets as well. This has been standard practice across the media landscape for years.

      • Black Adam

        Just when I was about to give you and AHH a well deserved clap for an informative piece for once {not that you care} you go and inform us that no one at AHH wrote it. Lmao thank you and bravo!

      • Yohance

        Where did I say no one from AHH wrote this article? I wrote this article using some information from Billboard which is made clear in the AHH article – “Billboard spoke with Kendrick’s friend and stylist Dianne Garcia about the Grammy night performance.”

        That’s how you write reports. You use known personal information and information from different sources to put together a piece. That’s why there is info/commentary in this article that you cannot find in the Billboard article. It’s not stealing. It’s reporting.

      • Black Jay Supreme

        Oh, you actually work there? Fine. Care to explain your mega messed up grammar and punctuation on 80% of your stories? Sh-t is getting really pathetic.

      • Shock

        I don’t understand people like you. Why would you continue to frequent a website if you don’t like the content or the writing? Its weird.

      • Black Jay Supreme

        And I don’t understand people like you. Why would you speak when grown folks are talking?😂😂😂 Sit-cho ass down somewhere youngsta.

      • Shock

        So you didn’t have a real response, so you made a lame joke to try to cover that up? It was a real question. Why do you frequent site and comment on every story if you don’t like the content or the writing?

      • Black Jay Supreme

        Because like most people here, we rolled with the site from the beginning. Now that most of the writers that we got down with left for whatever reason, the website seems to be geared towards profit (seeing Wendy Williams ads every day and the dumb as f-ck inclusion of the pop up survey). The reason most of us remain is a two pronged response: 1: This is a community that most of us have developed a small level of friendship with and 2: The hope that someone in that f*cking office catches these responses and brings them to the attention of whoever is now calling the shots. We damn sure ain’t staying for the excellent journalism. Change doesn’t come about by ignoring. Complaints are always the motivator for change.

        That answer you question young buck? Now go get an ice cream cone.

      • Shock

        Lol, I don’t know. I may be a young buck, but I am old enough to not be emotionally tied to websites, and to simply visit another site if I don’t like this one. Thats just me though, lol.

      • Yohance

        Yes, it happens every day and on every website, news outlet, and publication. That’s how it has always worked. If you read about any particular news story or subject on different websites, you’ll see it’s based on the exact same information from the exact same original source presented in a different way.

      • Black Jay Supreme

        To be fair, what I wrote was in jest. I’m a journalism major and I’m well aware of how some stories are reported. But your website doesn’t seem to have an editor at this point. So on top of the 80% misspellings and stories that don’t have anything to do with hip hop, we get a story like yours which is what a lot of websites do, but doesn’t address the lack of reporting that is blatantly obvious to the average hip hop news reader. Normally I wouldn’t knock your story but taken in the grand scope of how the website is being run, there seems to be a problem with originality, editing, and a strong desire for earning revenue (what the f*ck is up with those pop-up surveys). You just caught up in the middle I suppose.



      • Shock

        Do me a favor, don’t reply back to these dudes. I saw your other long winded back and forth a month ago, and while I understand you wanted to defend yourself, it almost made you look as bad as them. The fact of the matter is that these guys frequent your site and your articles…anything else is just a misguided expression of admiration and jealousy. You are giving them exactly what they want when you engage in a back and forth with them.

      • Yohance

        I hear what you’re saying, but for me it’s not necessarily about defending myself. I’m really just trying to explain how our business works, so they are not confused or misinformed. The people commenting may be trolling, but other people reading the comments section may get a better understanding.

      • Shock

        Lmao they are trolling. And maybe this is your intent this time, but it was clear in the article about ID2 that you were defending yourself, you even said as such. I’m merely telling you that you don’t have to placate them or educate them outside of the articles you are writing. If they really wanted help or education about certain subjects, they would go get it themselves.

      • Black Adam

        Theres nothing wrong with Yohance or any writer taking the time to converse with long time visitors to this site when concerns pop up and theres nothing wrong with questioning the validity of the articles on said site. I applaud Yohance for doing that.

        Yohance whats your take on the other atrocious writers on this site bruv?

      • Shock

        Its ok to comment back. I don’t think he achieves anything in long ass back and forths like the one on the ID2 article, especially those who clearly just want to send shots and engage in an argument about the most minimal of shit.

      • Black Jay Supreme

        You speaking for dude now? You’re his representative? Didn’t I tell you to go sit-cho ass down when grown folks are talking? 😂😂😂😂

      • Shock

        Dude grown. He doesn’t need to speak for him. I offered advice….I wouldn’t go back and forth with a nigga that is clearly my fan, as you are to him.

      • Black Adam

        Thats fair. I personally didnt read that article so I didnt see that exchange but truthfully Yohance isnt really the problem. He responded so he’s just getting caught in the windstorm of disappointment with a lot of the other piss poor articles written by piss poor writers. He seems to be fine with defending his journalistic integrity. This at least lets us know the writers are reading our comments which is exactly the info I was after.

      • Black Jay Supreme

        You’re like the dude in high school that reminded the teacher at the end of the day that she didn’t assign homework.

        “Don’t reply back to these dudes…”

        Who the f*ck are you? Hall monitor out this b*tch? 😂😂😂

      • Shock

        You like the nigga in high school that was picked on, but you kept hanging around them niggas anyways.

    • Xxplosive 1

      “TDE was written on the back of each performer in reflective 3M Paint. In addition, the inmates’ prison numbers represented Nat Turner’s famous slave revolt which took place August 21-23, 1831.”

  2. Q.

    And THIS is why Kendrick is the best Hip-Hop artist out now–he’s presenting culture that’s relevant to our people. Koonye should take notes. And Beyonce’s SB50 show was Mickey Mouse in comparison.


    as far as rapping with a real message i must thank kendrick because after tupac was killed rappers gave up on dropping knowledge if we could get a few lamars in the rap game it would change the world

  4. Gap Tooth Bruce

    Why people get caught up in Rappers like gods? If one talks about money and hoes and the other talks about Life or has a message or what not so what listen to what you like it’s not that deep!!

  5. Gap Tooth Bruce

    Tired of people saying well he aint a real street nigga or this and that its all music and entertainment it’s not that serious!!!!

  6. EDOGZ818

    i have seen the tide of consciousness in Hip Hop change this much sine Public Enemy dropped Nation Of Millions along with KRS dropping By Any Means Neccesary!

    D’Angelo just won a Grammy with Black messiah, Beyonce superbowl, now K Dot?

    Chet might just be ready to pop off!

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