Los Angeles - Rapper Kendrick Lamar showed why he led the field in Grammys nominations on Monday with an intense, politically-charged performance that took him from a prison, in shackles, to a huge on-stage bonfire.
The 28-year-old started out in chains and a prison uniform, with strobes flashing on the jailhouse set, as he treated the audience to a jazz-rock version of "The Blacker The Berry."
He and his back-up dancers then slipped their chains and donned glow-in-the-dark outfits for "Alright," the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement against police abuse, with a giant bonfire on stage.
Near the end of the performance, a picture of a map of Africa appeared behind Lamar, with "Compton," the rough Los Angeles suburb where he grew up, written on it.
Basketball star Kobe Bryant led the online adulation for the performance, telling his Twitter followers: "YES! @kendricklamar #GRAMMYs killin it #musevibe."
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"I'm still high from your performance. THANK YOU @kendricklamar!" Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin tweeted.
Lamar had earlier accepted a Grammy for Best Rap Album for his experimental opus, "To Pimp a Butterfly," saying: "This is for hip-hop. We will live forever -- believe that."
Lamar led the night's nominations with 11, amid widespread acclaim for his album, a meditative look with jazz touches at the plight of black America.
Lamar, who was made up with a bruise on the side of his face and was bleeped by network censors during the performance, is no stranger to making political statements through his stage shows.
At last year's Black Entertainment Television awards, he sang "Alright" atop a graffiti-sprayed police car.