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Kendrick Lamar Kicked Sweetgreen’s CEO Off the Stage at the Sweetlife Festival

It was completely deserved.

During Kendrick Lamar’s headline set at the Sweetlife Festival Sunday, the Compton, California rapper continued his habit of inviting a fan on-stage to assist him in performing his 2012 song “m.A.A.d city.” Considering Sweetlife’s premier sponsor, local salad chain Sweetgreen, it was not very surprising when Lamar asked the company’s co-founder and chief executive, Jonathan Neman, to grab a microphone.

Neman’s company plugged Lamar’s appearance hard in the months leading up to Sweetlife with a heavily promoted special salad named Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe (along with similarly branded T-shirts), a nutrient-packed pun on Lamar’s breakout single, “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.” But when Lamar tried to hand off a verse to Neman, the crowd at Merriweather Post Pavilion quickly realized that beets can, in fact, kill a vibe.

Lamar was just two lines into the first verse when he realized Neman didn’t know the words. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no,” Lamar said, asking his band to stop the music.

Neman was promptly escorted off stage at his own music festival, while Lamar scoped the audience for a new partner, finding one in a young woman who gave her name as Ayanna. After some initial stagefright, Ayanna nailed every word “m.A.A.d City.”

“She killed that shit,” Lamar.

Neman, meanwhile, learned an even more important lesson:

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.

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