Kendrick Lamar, one of the most respected young rappers, will make his classical debut in a performance with the National Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra in Washington announced Monday that the NSO Pops would perform selections of Lamar’s latest album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” with him on October 20.
Lamar, who hails from the gangsta rap birthplace of Compton, California, emerged on the scene in 2011 to acclaim for his introspective rhymes.
“To Pimp a Butterfly,” which debuted at number one in the United States in March, delves into racial politics both over funky beats and, unusually for such a commercially successful album, through spoken word.
The one-night-only performance at Washington’s Kennedy Center will be conducted by Steven Reineke, the principal pops conductor for the orchestra.
Reineke, who is also music director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, is known for his passion for bringing popular music into the classical realm.
He has previously conducted interpretations of the hits of Swedish bubble-gum pop legends Abba and collaborated on stage with Trey Anastasio, frontman of jam band Phish.
Last year, under Reineke’s baton, the NSO Pops backed rapper Nas as he performed his seminal album “Illmatic” in its entirety to mark the 20th anniversary of its release.