Run-DMC‘s Darryl McDaniels said hi to Imagine Dragons last night (February 1), but the rap legend’s introduction wasn’t the only surprise during its debut Saturday Night Live gig. During “Radioactive,” the camera shifted its focus from lead singer Dan Reynolds to bassist Ben McKee, revealing a figure crouched behind a speaker — Kendrick Lamar, ready for the remix.
Imagine Dragons and K. Dot had debuted the “Radioactive” remix at this year’s Grammy Awards, which set an incredibly high standard for both its iTunes release and SNL performance. Last night’s rendition wasn’t as electric or cathartic as the Grammys, but it still felt like a hard-won victory. Lamar still finds room to build anticipation on a song that’s nearly all drums and crescendo. Plus, while critics find it easy to write off rock and rap mash-ups like these, it’s hard to deny how these two acts feed off each other’s energy — and sound inspired in the process.
It’d be no surprise, either, if the SNL performance leads to even more success for both acts. Last summer, “Radioactive” beat the Foo Fighters‘ 20-week record for the longest reign on Billboard’s Rock Airplay chart. Shortly thereafter, Lamar’s good kid, M.A.A.D city scored the second biggest opening week of 2012, falling short only to Nicki Minaj‘s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and went on to sell a million copies in 2013. Watch the “Radioactive” remix, SNL-style, up top.
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