Critiquing Rapper Kendrick Lamar Performance on Portland Waterfront & City’s Response


Emmett Naylor Talking About the Lamar Performance Late This Afternoon

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,426)

“I had the best seat – a reserved seat and a free one,” said Emmett Naylor, grinning, about his watching the rapper Kendrick Lamar perform on the outdoor apron next to the Ocean Gateway last night.  Naylor’s great seat was on a rooftop of one of the buildings on the eastern end of  Commercial Street.  His seat was only about 50 yards from the concert stage.

“I was disappointed in the performance.  I really like him a lot, but I was disappointed,” Naylor said.  “Maybe I just expected too much.”  The opening acts, all rappers, were not impressive Naylor said.  He acknowledged that it’s hard to do live concerts, because there is no synthesizer on stage as there is in a recording studio to improve the quality of the music.

“Profanity with no limits” is how Naylor described the language during the performance.  Although he didn’t mind the language himself, he was concerned about families with young children attending and some walking past the performance on Commercial Street.  It was language that children should not be exposed to he said.  Some adults don’t want to be exposed to it as well!  He estimated that about 1,000 people attended the concert.

“The city should know if a hip-hop artist is here, there will be profanity.  The city should have let the public know there was a hip-hop performance on the waterfront, so they could avoid the area if they wanted.”

The City responded with this email Friday; May 31st afternoon:  “Wednesday Night’s On the Waterfront concert is currently the only one scheduled for this year.  The city entered into a contract to rent the space to a concert promoter.  As a part of that contract, noise limits and a curfew were established.  Neither were exceeded.  The concert ended at approximately 8:45 pm.  Unfortunately due to the low cloud cover, the sound from the concert was able to travel to the surrounding area.  The city received approximately 50 complaints related either to noise or the content of the artists’ performance.  These complaints came from not just Portland but the surrounding area.

As far as restricting the language of a performing artist, the city respects the 1st Amendment rights of the performers and works with the organizers to mitigate the impact on the neighborhood.  In this case, the weather proved to be a challenge and amplified the sound according to a statement received from the city’s spokesperson Nicole Clegg, Friday afternoon.