West Coast rap veteran Snoop Dogg recently offered a take on Kendrick Lamar‘s flourishing Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) crew and why comparisons to Death Row Records’ golden era are premature.
Despite similarities in both camps showcasing star-studded rosters, Snoop gave Death Row a “gangsta” edge.
Snoop Dogg — aka Snoopzilla currently for his 7 Days of Funk collaboration with Dam-Funk — was surprised by GQ’s comparison of TDE to Death Row Records. “They said what?” was Snoop’s initial reaction when VIBE asked about GQ’s comparison of TDE, the record label of rising hip-hop star and current GQ cover man Kendrick Lamar, to that of Death Row Records, the iconic ’90s West Coast rap label that helped launch gangsta rap and released several of Snoop’s early albums. Even hip-hop tastemakers generally agreed that GQ’s cover story on Kendrick Lamar read like “a Hip-Hop outsider trying to explain this new movement to other Hip-Hop outsiders.” So, we asked Snoop if he thought TDE was the new Death Row Records. “No, they’re not the new Death Row,” Snoop deadpanned, “because TDE did it completely different than Death Row did it. Death Row did it with a gangsta approach.” (VIBE)
Confused by TDE CEO Top Dawg‘s recent dicey comments, GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson spoke up for his publication’s credibility and denied any ill will over a Kendrick Lamar story earlier this month.
“Kendrick Lamar is one of the most talented new musicians to arrive on the scene in years. That’s the reason we chose to celebrate him, wrote an incredibly positive article declaring him the next King of Rap, and gave him our highest honor: putting him on the cover of our Men of the Year issue. I’m not sure how you can spin that into a bad thing, and I encourage anyone interested to read the story and see for themselves.” (Statement)
Nelson went a step further and noted how much TD’s decision to pull Lamar from performing at their recent celebration party hurt fans hoping to see their “Rapper of the Year” honoree.
“We were mystified and sorely disappointed by Top Dawg’s decision to pull him at the last minute from the performance he had promised to give. The real shame is that people were deprived of the joy of seeing Kendrick perform live. I’m still a huge fan.”–Jim Nelson, GQ editor-in-chief” (Statement)
A few weeks ago, Top Dawg issued a public statement on his frustration toward GQ.
“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.” (Press Release)
He also emphasized the focus and ultimate goal of his growing music empire.
“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.” (Press Release)
Check out Snoop Dogg’s interview: