Kendrick Lamar officially made his television acting debut with the latest episode of Power titled “Happy Birthday,” which features the rapper playing a fast-talking drug addict opposite 50 Cent’s character Kanan.
We're introduced to Lamar's character Laces as Joey Badass’ “Christ Conscious” plays in the background. The rapper turns the same corner as Kanan, trying to sell him old gift cards. The two then partner up as Laces' eccentricity distracts Kanan’s targets, helping him carry out two murders.
Pulitzer Kenny could be making moves to become Emmy Kenny, as his character's disheveled look and newly tapped acting skills totally sell his role. Laces attempts to drop wisdom in every one of his three scenes and even reads Kanan. “You don’t have any friends do you?” he asks Fif’s character in Laces' closing scenes (which hits a little close to home considering recent events). “You find it hard to make and maintain human connection. Are you sad? Feeling empty? Hard to be there for people you love ain’t it?”
Fans of the show and K-Dot ate up this performance, begging the question, when is he coming back for more?
Ahead of the episode’s release, Power’s showrunner Courtney A. Kemp explained why they decided to bring Kendrick onboard. “It wasn’t an idea of we need big guest stars or we’re trying to get more eyeballs. It was not that at all,” she said. “It was much more about, here’s an artist that we respect and he wants to come play in our sandbox, let’s give him the best quality sand, buckets and shovels we can. Let’s all get in there, yeah let’s play. We love to play here, you know?”
She also revealed the Compton rapper was the one who suggested his role as an eccentric, all-knowing addict.
“He said, ‘You know, I’d like to play’—well, he didn’t say ‘drug addict,’ but he used a different word. But so then we created the character Laces,” Kemp said. “We had already broken part of the season, and we were always going to have 50’s character [Kanan] use someone else to kill a bunch of ‘tinos. So those two things came together very naturally. We already had the idea in place. And then Sophia Derry wrote this incredible script and this incredible character in Laces, for Kendrick to play. And he showed up to win, you know?”
“Happy Birthday” hit Starz's streaming service on Saturday night, but airs tonight at 8 p.m. on the channel.