Kendrick Lamar performed his new single “Rich Spirit” on the season 48 premiere of Saturday Night Live, and paid tribute to fellow Compton rapper Kee Riches, who died a week earlier.
Lamar commanded attention with his stripped-down SNL performance. There were no props on stage, just an electric fan and the shadow of a lone dancer resembling Lamar in the background.
The stage was made to look like a cardboard box as this weekend’s musical guest performed tracks from his new album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. At one point, the words “Kee Riches” appeared on the side of the box and Lamar name-dropped the late rapper, who was fatally shot in Compton on Sept. 24.
[Watch the performance below]
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Lamar returned to the stage later in the show to perform “Father Time” with special guest, singer-songwriter Sampha.
For the second performance, the stage resembled the inside of a bedroom — with a small bed, a chair, nightstand, lamp, and a stack of books. The walls of the room closed in as the two performed.
Top Gun: Maverick actor Miles Teller hosted the show, which included sketches on the BeReal app, a lame joke about Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia, and a comical take mocking Nicole Kidman’s AMC movie theater promo.
The episode also saw four new comedians introduced, including Michael Longfellow, who offered hilarious comments on the “Weekend Update” about his conservative family. The new comics were added to the cast following the departures this year of Kate McKinnon, Chris Redd, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari.
SNL airs Saturday nights at 11:30 ET/8:30 PT on NBC.
Watch Kendrick Lamar’s performance of “Father Time” in the video below.