Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar stopped by The Ellen Degeneres Show to perform “These Walls.” His performance featured a pair of ballroom dancers and was preceded by a glowing introduction from Ellen herself. Afterward, Kendrick joined Ellen to discuss a variety of things, including the Generational Icon award that was recently given to him by the California State Senate. The two also talked about Lamar’s inclusion in Taylor Swift’s star-studded “Bad Blood” video, for which he rapped entirely new verses; the song broke Vevo’s record for most streams in a 24-hour window, being viewed over 20 million times in its first day.
Kendrick is currently promoting his second major label album To Pimp a Butterfly. The record is a sprawling ode to jazz, funk and radical political thought, paying tribute to forbearers like The Roots and DJ Quik in its construction. He has played cuts from the record sparingly, making the Ellen performance that much more compelling. His last effort, 2012′s narrative-driven good kid, m.A.A.d. city, was hailed by fans and critics as an instant classic. That album has had a palpable effect on the major label rap world; to wit, YG’s long-delayed Def Jam debut, My Krazy Life, borrowed from Lamar in its coming-of-age lens into Compton.
Watch the performance below.