Kendrick Lamar Breaks Silence On New Album, Reveals He Will Leave Top Dawg Entertainment
UPDATE (Aug. 20):
TDE CEO Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith released a statement via Instagram this afternoon in support of Kendrick Lamar's TDE departure announcement.
"The whole goal when we started the thing was to make music, make money, and make history," Tiffith wrote. "We did those things 10 times over and then some. TDE and its artists have provided a way to end generational curses that we were all personally born into over the last 17 years in this business."
Top Dawg continued: "With this being Dot's last album on TDE, this is more of a VICTORY LAP, a celebration. I know he will be successful in whatever it is he decides to do and will have our FULL SUPPORT. As for Top Dawg Entertainment, we will continue to grow, develop and give artists the platform to expand into whatever way they choose."
See TDE's CEO's full statement below.
Kendrick Lamar has announced that he is parting ways from his longtime label, Top Dawg Entertainment.
On Friday afternoon (Aug. 20), K-Dot posted a tweet of a link to a website called oklama.com, along with a clipart image of a yellow folder, which had the words "nu thoughts" underneath it.
On the website, Kendrick breaks the news that his nearly two decade-long run with his label is coming to an end.
"As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years," Kung Fun Kenny wrote. "The Struggles. The Success. And most importantly, the Brotherhood. May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life's calling."
In the earlier portion of the note, Kendrick said, "I spend most of my days with fleeting thoughts. Writing. Listening. And collecting old Beach cruisers. The morning rides keep me on a hill of silence. I go months without a phone. Love, loss, and grief have disturbed by comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next."
The elusive rapper added: "There's beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I've prayed for you all. See you soon enough."
Kendrick Lamar closed out the letter with the word "oklama." However, the meaning or significance of the term is unclear.
Last October, the Compton rhymer responded to rumors that he was leaving TDE. In a video shared by TDE CEO Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, Kendrick used the main character Blue from the Nickelodeon cartoon Blues Clues to request that people stop dragging the former 2011 XXL Freshman's name through the mud.
"Top, you gotta stop them from smutting my name, man," Kendrick said in the video. "They been smutting my name all year, man. You ain't said nothing. Enough is enough, man. Got ’em saying I done shook the label and all that. They must don't know about that, that pickle juice that's under your red cap, man. About that sweat, the sweat that's holding that red cap together, reason why it don't fall off your head, man. That lubricant. You need to tell them that the reason why that cap don't fall off yo' head, man. So why would I fall off? Watching cartoons, man."
Kendrick Lamar has released nine albums—good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012), good kid, m.A.A.d city deluxe (2012), To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), Untitled Unmastered (2016), DAMN. (2017), DAMN. Collector's Edition. (2017), Black Panther: The Album (2018)—while on TDE, as well as his 2010 debut, Overly Dedicated.
In March of 2020, Kendrick announced pgLang, his multi-service media company with Dave Free, former co-president of TDE. The company is a media powerhouse comprised of a record label, movie studio and publishing house. K-Dot's cousin and former 2020 XXL Freshman, Baby Keem, is the first artist to sign with pgLang.
XXL has reached out a rep for Kendrick Lamar for a comment.
See Kendrick's departure letter and tweet below.