Kendrick Lamar isn’t present on social media like many of his peers, so a post from the Compton legend is a rarity. But on Aug. 20, the 34-year-old MC shared a post to his Instagram account with a link that led to a statement from him. The statement marks the end of an era. As indicated in the post, Kendrick will deliver one final album for Top Dawg Entertainment and then call it quits with the label.
Kendrick wrote in the statement, “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.”
Shortly after K. Dot made his big reveal, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith addressed the split on Instagram with a lengthy post. “The whole goal when we started this thing was to make music, make money, and make history,” he wrote. “We did those things 10 times over and then some.” Signs of potential trouble in the TDE camp have been starting to pop up over the last couple of years. Speaking to HipHopDX in October 2020, Kendrick Lamar’s fellow labelmate REASON hinted there’d been some internal growing pains, explaining at the time the label was “going through a weird time”.
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Top Dawg Entertainment was founded in 2004, by CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith as an independent record label. In 2003, Tiffith found a then 15-year-old Kendrick Lamar, a Compton native, who at the time went by K-Dot and had just released his first mixtape. Tiffith saw potential in Lamar, signing him onto the label from the strength of the rapper’s debut mixtape.