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Kendrick Lamar's Triumphant Return to New York

Rapper commands two back-to-back, sold-out shows at Roseland Ballroom
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Jessica Lehrman

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Kendrick Lamar is coasting. The rapper dropped one of the most celebrated albums in hip-hop last year, good kid, m.A.A.d city, and he just released its second video (for the Drake collaboration "Poetic Justice"). Last night, as part of Hot 97's Five Boro Takeover in New York, the young MC performed two back-to-back, sold-out shows at Roseland Ballroom – his first gig in the city since packing the much smaller club S.O.B.'s awhile ago.

Backstage at Roseland, the energy is low before showtime. Manager Dave Free buzzes around, prepping production and security, while Kendrick zones out on a sofa until a few fans are brought backstage for a meet-and-greet. Some familiar faces pop in to wish him luck, including DJ Jasmine Solano and blogger Ashley Outrageous, but the green room is no star-studded event. . . yet.

By MATTHEW TRAMMELL

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