Perhaps rap’s biggest superstar is leaving Top Dawg Entertainment, the record company that helped him gain recognition.
Friday, in a message to his fans titled “naked thoughts” abandoned via Twitter, Kendrick Lamar, has announced that he is producing his “latest TDE album” after 17 years of being part of the “Cultural Footprint”.
If the Compton artist who has given fans a plethora of beautiful, uplifting, and virtuoso verses over the past decade and a half is to be taken at their word, this could signal an evolution in his relationship with TDE or, like many fans the are scared, a hip-hop world without the voice of Lamar.
This latter scenario is still pending due to the cryptic wording of the message. The fact that this is his last album “TDE” could indicate another type of partnership with a brand or label created by Lamar. Some wondered if the announcement meant he would put more effort and intent behind the pgLang store – with act like Carson, Baby Keem from California as a collaborator – which he created in 2020 alongside from TDE President Dave Free. Aside from a promotional mission statement and an advertised sponsorship with Calvin Klein, the brand has rather been dormant for about a year.
Lamar’s latest album, 2017 SLIM, was a strong entry into what was already a brilliant discography, earning the 34-year-old rapper a Grammy for Best Rap Album as well as a Pulitzer Prize for Music.
But life continued to unfold for Lamar who, it seems, is preoccupied with more noble ideas both creatively and personally than only music.
In 2019, he is a father and engaged to high school girlfriend Whitney Alford. He mentioned the desire to become an actor after a guest spot on 50 Cent’s Power, and has numerous brand collaborations and real estate investments.
The key here is that every opportunity is calculated and deliberate. Music, regardless of love, could create other opportunities for Lamar to stretch his mind and heart by “fulfilling the call of his life.”
Nonetheless, due to his relative silence between albums and tours, any post from K. Dot is sure to make waves in the industry. Whether pgLang or preaching the good word is its next adventure, hip-hop and the world at large will be eagerly awaiting.