At some point before year’s end, fans can (hopefully) expect Kendrick Lamar to release his new album and official follow-up to the critically acclaimed DAMN. With that said, the impending drop will be somewhat bittersweet given the fact that it will be his last under Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), the label that has been behind his entire career since 2005’s Training Day. This revelation was made via a website that Kendrick launched to provide an update for his fans:
“While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next. As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years. The Struggles. The Success. And most importantly, the Brotherhood. May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. … Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I’ve prayed for you all. See you soon enough.”
In a new interview with Mic, TDE President Terrence Louis Henderson Jr. — better know by his artist moniker Punch — opened up on the situation, which he briefly touched on via social media immediately following the announcement:
“I don’t even know if I would describe it that way as ready to leave, as more so ready to build his own thing. That’s a grown man right now. We watched him grow from a teenager up into an established grown man, a businessman, and one of the greatest artists of all time. So how long do you actually be signed up under somebody? It’s been almost 20 years. So it’s time to move on and try new things and venture out.”
“We definitely wanted to do a Black Hippy album. But it was such a learning experience for us, everything was new. The timing never really panned out. When one guy would be recording his album, another guy would be on tour. Everybody was never in the same timeframe. So we didn’t want to hold back; we wanted to keep going and just push further into their individual careers.”
You can read Punch’s full interview with Mic here.