“Here’s an artist that we respect and he wants to play in our sandbox,” “Power” executive producer Courtney Kemp said of Kendrick Lamar joining the Starz drama. Stressing that the Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson co-staring and EP’d series wasn’t looking to toss in flashy guest stars to “grab more eyeballs,” Kemp told the Saturday morning TCA session that the acclaimed and best selling Lamar “showed up to win” for what is his scripted small screen debut.
Discussing how Lamar came to jump on board with the top rated “Power” via his friendship with Jackson, EP Kemp revealed that Lamar will play “a drug addict” named Laces on the show’s Season 5 fifth episode on Sunday. First announced on July 25, the character handles some dirty work for Jackson’s ruthless Kanan in his battle with rivals in the NYC underworld.
Whether Lamar’s Laces will be an ongoing presence on “Power” looks to be an open question itself. “I can’t tell you that,” Kemp replied to laughter when asked if the rapper could return for more “Power.”
As detailed by the Pulitzer Prize winning Lamar in the video below, finding a way to incorporate him into “Power” took around “four year” looking for Kemp to create “the right moment, the right character for it to make sense.”
Check out Lamar and Kemp discussing his role on tomorrow’s “Happy Birthday” episode along with Jackson describing the reaction he expects the Grammy winning rapper’s appearance will generate among “Power” fans. “They’re going to talk about his performance,” the EP declares.
“I can’t tell you but I will say this, I pitched the show with an endgame in mind,” Kemp told the assembled journos Saturday morning of how and when the renewed for six seasons and likely more “Power” could end. “For the most part we know the success of the show might have prolonged the ending but the ending has always been the same,” the EP added, without giving away any sense of what the “Power” unplugging plan actually is.
Jackson wasn’t there but Kemp was joined on the panel at the Beverly Hilton by “Power” cast members Omari Hardwick, Lela Loren, Joseph Sikora and Larenz Tate, who was upped to a series regular for Season 5 last year.
Before the panel started, Starz played a short greatest hits or “best in class” video featuring clips of not only “Power,” but also fellow TCA 2018 attendees “Vida,” and docuseries “America To Me” and “Warriors of Liberty City.” Of course, “Outlander,” “American Gods” and the “White Queen” were there too.