Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, the founder and CEO of Kendrick Lamar’s label Top Dawg Entertainment, has released a statement in response to GQ’s December Kendrick Lamar cover story. Tiffith, the architect of TDE’s five-pillar “just make good music” plan, pulled Lamar from a planned performance at GQ’s Men of the Year party this past Tuesday. He argues that the story, where freelance writer Steve Marsh calls TDE a “baby Death Row Records” and Tiffith “TDE’s Suge Knight,” is “lazy,” has “racial overtones” and does not “accurately” document Lamar or TDE. Tiffith writes:
In 2004, I founded Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) with the goal of providing a home for west coast artists and a platform for these artists to express themselves freely and to give their music to the world. From our beginning in 2005 with Jay Rock, to developing Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul, to most recently singing Isaiah Rashad and SZA. We, as TDE, have always prided ourselves in doing everything with heart, honor, and respect.
This week, Kendrick Lamar was named one of GQ’s 2013 Men Of The Year, an honor that should have been celebrated as a milestone in his career and for the company. Instead, the story, written by Steve Marsh, put myself and my company in a negative light. Marsh’s story was more focused on what most people would see as drama or bs. To say he was “surprised at our discipline” is completely disrespectful. Instead of putting emphasis on the good that TDE has done for west coast music, and for hip hop as a whole, he spoke on what most people would consider whats wrong with Hip Hop music. Furthermore, Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented. The racial overtones, immediately reminded everyone of a time in hip-hop that was destroyed by violence, resulting in the loss of two of our biggest stars. We would expect more from a publication with the stature and reputation that GQ has. As a result of this misrepresentation, I pulled Kendrick from his performance at GQ’s annual Man Of The Year party Tuesday, November 12th.
While we think it’s a tremendous honor to be named as one of the Men Of The Year, these lazy comparisons and offensive suggestions are something we won’t tolerate. Our reputation, work ethic, and product is something that we guard with our lives.
Lamar, along with Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul, was profiled in a FADER cover story by Andrew Nosnitsky in 2011.