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Watch Kendrick Lamar Save ‘SNL’ From Insufferable Host Adam Levine

kendrick lamar snl saturday night live swimming pool drank poetic justic

How little faith must’ve NBC had in company man Adam Levine as he stepped in to host Saturday Night Live for the first time this week (January 26). Not only did the network trot out Andy Samberg and, for whatever reason, Cameron Diaz to assist the Maroon 5 frontman in his opening monologue, sainted NBC veteran Jerry Seinfeld showed up as a mentor, too, urging the pectacular Levine to keep his damn shirt on. That advice, to avoid the easy thrills, went unheeded, and so followed  — muscles notwithstanding — an otherwise flat, laughless, and (ugh) gay stereotype-reliant episode. There were three bright spots, however, and the man responsible for the Best Hip-Hop Album of 2012 was a part of each.

Kendrick Lamar, repping Compton with his cap, turned in two household-name-making performances: his late-night standby “Swiming Pools (Drank)” and the Janet Jackson-sampling “Poetic Justice.” So, if you wondered why your mom texted you “Who’s Kenny Lamar?” this morning, there’s your answer.

And, as a nice surprise, Samberg reunited his Lonely Island for a new digital short, featuring Levine, Eastbound and Down actor Danny McBride, and (despite our prediction) Kendrick himself. The premise was genius, to redefine Drake’s risk-taking mantra “YOLO” to mean its opposite “You Oughta Look Out.” Watch that one down at the bottom.

Kendrick Lamar, “Poetic Justice”