Rap legend Kendrick Lamar from Compton makes sluggish, robotic movements while alternating between precise, curved postures. His silhouetted frame reflects off the massive onstage projections in Paris’ Accor Arena as he fires restlessly through “Worldwide Steppers,” transmitting to 20,000 enthralled followers in what appears to be a live stage recording. In actuality, this stream has already been captured, and Lamar’s onstage motions have been painstakingly orchestrated and practiced to resemble it. There are many indications of his tremendous dedication to creating art in his Paris exhibition, but this is possibly the most potent.

The international “Big Steppers” tour, which has completed a number of North American and European performances, makes its way to Paris on the occasion of Kendrick Lamar’s breakthrough album “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” which turns 10 years old this year. His second album launched Lamar’s meteoric climb by capturing the difficult daily reality of growing up in Compton, a city marked by violence in popular culture.

He is currently one of the most creative rappers in the world, a title that was only confirmed in May with the release of his deeply personal fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” Earlier this summer, he debuted a live performance of this show during his headline performance at Glastonbury. To commemorate the convergence of these significant occasions, Amazon Music will stream tonight’s performance live to the entire world. The footage has been painstakingly planned in advance, with every shot being precisely choreographed. Lamar and his crew are clearly aware of the significance of the occasion.

It takes skill to successfully combine the dark melancholy of “Mr. Morale” with the crisp punchiness of “nice child…” Eleven dancers move mechanically from the end of the catwalk to the stage as the act begins with the dark, menacing strings of “Savior – Interlude.” Lamar comes from the subsequent darkness playing the piano with a ventriloquist doll of himself by his side. The beginning tracks of “Mr. Morale,” “United in Grief,” and the bass-heavy, upbeat “N95” are scorching for the duo. He struts through “Backseat Freestyle,” the first of numerous “nice kid…” tracks deftly placed throughout the program.

The album’s popularity with listeners is not lost on Lamar’s team, who enhance each classic with visually beautiful drama. The magnificent, cathartic hymn “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is introduced onstage by the subdued brightness of a slowly rising sun. The LA rapper is encircled by a whirl of spinning, torch-carrying dancers during the song “m.A.A.d city.” Innovative choreography and visual effects raise the bar for the performance without taking away from the music, as sound and image seamlessly meld to provide an incredibly impressive spectacle.

Lamar performs for almost two hours without pausing and almost ever speaks. It takes him another half hour to identify himself, and even then, it’s only as the charismatic Big Steppers frontman: “I am Mr. Morale.” The problem is that the performance is so profoundly moving that no spoken words are required. The discordant piano stabs of “Rich – Interlude” are utilized to introduce the thundering beat and G-funk synths of “HUMBLE,” one of his singles that is clearly influenced by the “Big Steppers.”

Throughout the performance, he teases the audience with snippets and fragments of tracks, launching into opening verses and choruses before brutally cutting things and introducing new motifs. As a result, he crams in nearly 30 songs – including three with support act, close collaborator, and family member Baby Keem – without jeopardizing the show’s cohesion or giving the impression that he’s just trying to reel off as many hits as possible; it’s a carefully curated snapshot of his incredibly diverse back catalogue.

The Accor Arena performance of “To Pimp A Butterly” only had a minor part to play, which is a drawback to the Steppers’ rise to fame. Only the magnificent crowd-pleaser “King Kunta” and the soulful, rewarding “Alright” remain from the brilliant, jazz fusion-infused 2015 album that solidified Lamar’s position as one of the most inventive rappers in the world. The latter is among the show’s most memorable performances; in it, Lamar channels his inner David Blaine and finds himself imprisoned inside a clear plastic box that falls from the sky.

The scene is set in perspective by one of multiple recordings of Helen Mirren saying, “Mr. Morale, you’ve been contaminated,” reflecting Lamar’s experience of contracting COVID. Complex sequences like this highlight how far Lamar’s obsessive devotion to his craft goes beyond his intricate, richly detailed studio work.

As the event comes to a close, Lamar enters the stage through a trapdoor, turns to the left, and flashes a mischievous grin, giving us a rare look into the fun personality that lies beneath this enormous work of creativity and ingenuity. The personal touch that sometimes gets lost in the midst of creative brilliance is present here. Despite the irony, the album’s tour offers a creative vision that would bewilder most common people, “Mr. Morale” insisted on exposing the rapper’s shortcomings and dismantling the god complex that surrounds him. It’s a magnificent, poignant performance from a modern rap legend.

Kendrick Lamar played:

‘United in Grief’
‘Worldwide Steppers’
‘Backseat Freestyle’
‘Rich Spirit’
‘Rich (Interlude)’
‘Father Video’
‘m.A.A.d city’
‘We Cry Together’
‘Purple Hearts’
‘King Kunta’
‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’
‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’
‘Die Hard.’
‘Count Me Out’
‘Money Trees’
‘Vent’ (ft. Baby Keem)
‘Range Brothers’ (ft. Baby Keem)
‘Family Ties’ (ft. Baby Keem)
‘Mr. Morale’ (ft. Tanna Leone)