In light of public backlash from Top Dawg Entertainment, GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson has issued a response to speak out over its presentation of Kendrick Lamar in its cover story.
Confused by TDE CEO Top Dawg‘s comments, Nelson spoke up for his publication’s credibility and denied any ill will being planted into the article.
“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 party hurt fans hoping to see the “Rapper of the Year.”
“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)
Yesterday, 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)
Some music publications have speculated on what specifically sparked TD’s issues.
Marsh’s story starts with representatives of both Top Dawg and Interscope being unable to find Kendrick Lamar. The GQ story then details the death of Chad Keaton, the rapper’s friend. The story also refers to Kendrick Lamar as “nerdy” and includes the following passage: “Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith, basically TDE’s Suge Knight, asked if I had had a fun day. I said that I had and that I was surprised by their discipline. ‘You guys seem so calm,’ I said. ‘Well,’ Tiffith told me, ‘we’re going to have to call it a night with you, because we about to get uncalm. You understand.'” (HHDX)
In its new GQ Men of the Year issue, K. Dot specifically receives the “Rapper of the Year” honor over his peers.
Kendrick Lamar: Rapper of the Year Every member of rap’s Mount Rushmore dropped new albums in 2013–Kanye, Jay Z, Drake, Eminem–but it was another MC altogether who stole the crown, and he did it with just a handful of verses: Kendrick Lamar, the latest–and possibly greatest–rapper to come straight outta Compton. (GQ)