Kendrick Lamar’s recent performance on Saturday Night Live was one for the ages. In the episode hosted by Miles Teller on October 1st, the rapper delivered an incredibly artistic medley of “Rich Spirit” into “N95” and then brought on Sampha to sing the hook on “Father Time.” But this was not the first time that the Compton rapper appeared on SNL. While he stopped off at 30 Rockefeller Plaza this weekend on a short break from his tour supporting his latest album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, he has been the musical guest twice before and then even made two additional cameo appearances. So what songs did he perform and when?
All The Songs That Kendrick Lamar Has Performed On ‘SNL’ In His Career
“Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice”
On January 26th, 2013, Kendrick was three months removed from the release of his breakthrough album, Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. He debuted on the SNL stage in an episode hosted by Adam Levine (lol) and backed by a TDE Records hoodie-clad band, he showed the audience what a soon-to-be rap star looked like on”Poetic Justice” and “Swimming Pools (Drank.)
“i” and “Pay For It”
It didn’t take long for Kendrick Lamar to return to the SNL stage. In an episode hosted by Woody Harrelson on November 15th, 2014, Lamar delivered two gems a few months before To Pimp A Butterfly was released. Wearing a white t-shirt and blackout contact lenses, he opened his performances with the album’s lead single, “i” (with an epic intro from Woody Harrelson, by the way.) Then, he surprised everyone by playing with Jay Rock and Chantal on Jay Rock’s track “Pay For It.”
“Rich Spirit/N95” and “Father Time”
The most recent appearance on SNL by Kendrick Lamar featured a mega-cut of “Rich Spirit/N95” and then a second song, “Father Time” featuring Sampha. Miles Teller hosted the episode on October 1st, 2022. This is what an artist on top of the hip-hop world looks like.
Apart from his three times on SNL as the musical guest, Kendrick Lamar also made two appearances on the comedy sketch show as a guest performer with other artists.
The first was on February 1st, 2014, when he appeared on “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. The episode was hosted by Melissa McCarthy.
Then on December 1st, 2018, Kendrick joined Anderson .Paak for their collaboration “Tints.” Claire Foy was the host and you can watch that performance here.