Kendrick Lamar’s mad set at the Coliseum

Early on April 30, Kendrick Lamar inked his name to flesh.

“My sister wants to know if you would sign her belly,” asked a fan on behalf of her pregnant sibling during a question and answer session at local hip-hop station 102 Jamz.

“You ever think you’d be signing a pregnant woman’s belly when you were mowing lawns back in Compton?” joked host and radio personality Santillian.

Lamar laughed softly, supplying the obvious answer, “No.”

Later that night, Lamar played at University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Guilford College’s Triad College Music Festival at the Greensboro Coliseum, one stop along his first headlining tour. Lamar mixed recently released hits and deeper catalogue cuts evenly, mostly focusing on his albums “Section.80” and “good kid, m.A.A.d. city.”

After a soulful opening set from Bridget Kelly, Lamar walked onstage to the intro of “The Art of Peer Pressure” before bounding into “West Side, Right on Time.”

“Anybody been listening to me since day one?” Lamar asked the audience early in his set, segueing into “P&P 1.5” from the attention-getting 2011 mixtape, “Overly Dedicated.”

“I’m going through something in life / But p—- and Patron make me feel all right,” echoed a crowd clearly familiar with Lamar’s early work.

Later, Lamar went a cappella for a verse. His DJ undressing A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems,” Lamar’s lyricism stood naked. Purposefully abandoning instrumentals like this throughout the show, Lamar needed no beat-heavy scaffolding to construct a message.

During “m.A.A.d. city,” one of the more upbeat songs from the gold-certified and universally acclaimed GKMC, the crowd moved like one frenetic musical amoeba. Red and white beams shot across the crowd like police searchlights.

Dispensing album hits “Money Trees,” “Backseat Freestyle” and “B—-, Don’t Kill My Vibe” back to back to back, Lamar worked the collegiate crowd to a craze.

Meanwhile, a Top Dawg Entertainment sign hung center stage, clearly illuminating Lamar’s label history.

Since releasing mixtapes under the moniker K-Dot and signing with the California-based independent label TDE at age 16, Lamar digitally released his official full-length debut “Section.80” in 2011. After signing with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records, Lamar released “GKMC,” one of those rare albums earning both critical and mainstream love.

Lamar is an artist of decided paradox, similar more in locale than lyrical style to Compton natives and gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A.

Narrating a bisected relationship with his home on “GKMC,” Lamar escaped both from and for his city.

Similarly with corporate sponsors well displayed at the festival, Lamar both depends upon and must separate himself from these outside influences in order to preserve the integrity that makes his music so vital.

While “GKMC” acknowledged complexity with deft storytelling, some of Lamar’s set tended towards hype over nuance. For example, album hit and set closer “Swimming Pools” both advocates and questions excessive drinking.

As Fayetteville, N.C. native J Cole, who made an exciting guest appearance and accompanied Lamar on Cole’s own “Power Trip,” sipped a drink onstage, Lamar drowned out the ironic edge with a call to action.

“Can y’all get f—– up with us tonight?” said Lamar.

“That’s my man,” a UNCG student yelped, leaping over the Coliseum’s seats, reaching the front row for Lamar’s encore “Cartoons and Cereal.”

With the spotlight looking down, Kendrick roved back and forth across the stage.

“I run it,” spat Lamar.

His shadow, cast against the DJ Riser, followed him like an obsessive fan.

Finishing the encore, Lamar freestyled on his own again, stand-alone moments like this most clearly flaunting Lamar’s distinctive flow.

Maintaining authenticity in a mad industry, sometimes you need to be alone. Stay good, Kendrick. Don’t let them kill your vibe.