TDE’s Punch Talks Kendrick Lamar’s Imminent Label Exit

Kendrick Lamar announced last August that his next studio album would be his last with Top Dawg Entertainment, ending a nearly two-decade partnership. His post comes months after Kendrick introduced his new company pgLang, co-founded with former TDE chairman Dave Free.

Given Kendrick’s impending departure from the label, TDE president Punch spoke with Mic, and reflected on the time they spent working together, and explained why Lamar is “ready to build his own thing.”

“He’s a grown man right now,” Punch said. “We’ve seen him grow from a teenager to an established adult man, a businessman and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. So how long are you actually signed up under someone? It’s been almost 20 years.”

He added that it was time for Kendrick to “move on, try new things and venture out”. Push said he “does a great job developing Baby Keem”.

“It’s always been there, but now it’s just the time and the space where he can actually do it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch because it’s something that started with what we built at the beginning. To see it blossom is a looping moment.

Lamar and Free refused to put pgLang in a box, describing the company in its mission statement as “multilingual” and adding that it was “not a ‘record label’, a ‘studio’. of a movie” or a “publishing house“. This is something new. In the first few months since its inception, pgLang has lived up to its proclamation with the release of Keem’s debut album melodic blueassociated with a Calvin Klein collaboration, and most recently, an upcoming live-action comedy film co-produced by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

“It’s different now just because it’s different, not because it’s his last project. It’s just the evolution of where we are,” Punch said of a different take on the Lamar’s latest TDE album.”Kendrick no longer needs anyone in the studio to coach him and help him make an album. He is quite capable of doing everything on his own. That’s just the timeframe we’re in.