While the selection of Lamar to perform the first-ever National Championship Game halftime show was a smart move, it was puzzling at the same time.
Kendrick Lamar had the honor of putting on the inaugural halftime performance during the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night in Atlanta. Lamar has made political statements at his televised shows in the past, and this was the flawless setup to do so.
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Lamar has previously been critical of the president - previous year he rapped: "Donald Trump is a chump, know how we feel, punk / Tell "em that God comin" / And Russia need a replay button, y'all up to something", on "The Heart Part 4" - but directed no overt statements Trump's way last night.
Trump did show up and even took the field for the pregame National Anthem ceremony. Lamar, with his socially and politically-conscious rap, probably doesn't fall into the president's wheelhouse-musically or thematically. Most of the audience watching on television are older fans who may have no idea who the world this "Kendrick fella" is on stage.
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Lamar performed a medley of hits from DAMN., arguable 2017's best album: after walking on to the music of FEEL., he ripped his way through DNA., ELEMENT., and HUMBLE., as well as his new track from the Black Panther soundtrack, All the Stars, albeit without collaborator SZA on vocals.
The real reason for Trump's attendance was shared by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who described the two opponents in the game, the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, as "two great teams from two great states, both in the heart of Trump country".
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She said Trump wants to promote his policies for strengthening American businesses, industries and workers. Sanders said that Trump would defend his agenda while participating in the forum of global elites.