Kendrick Lamar to Exit Top Dawg Entertainment After Upcoming Album Release

Kendrick Lamar and Drake Lead Grammy 2019 Nominees
  • Save

Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming fifth studio album will mark his last release through Carson, California-based indie label Top Dawg Entertainment, the 34-year-old rapper has revealed.

Compton-born Kendrick Lamar detailed the release specifics of his as-yet-unnamed fifth album – a follow-up to 2017’s Damn – on a newly launched website called Oklama. It remains to be seen whether the latter will double as the upcoming record’s title, but the barren website’s homepage is stylized as an old-school desktop, with a file icon labeled “nu thoughts” standing out against an all-white background.

Clicking on said file icon brings one to a message (presumably) penned by Lamar but signed “Oklama.” Before mentioning the imminent conclusion of the artist’s Top Dawg deal, the aproximately 160-word-long body of text states: “I spend most of my days with fleeting thoughts. Writing. Listening. And collecting old Beach cruisers. The morning rides keep me on a hill of silence. I go months without a phone.

“Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next,” the writing continues.

In passing, the next paragraph notes Lamar’s departure from the 17-year-old Top Dawg: “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. As I continue to pursue my life’s calling.

“There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I’ve prayed for you all. See you soon enough,” finishes the message, followed by the aforementioned “Oklama” signature and a small black-and-white photograph of Kendrick Lamar.

At the time of this piece’s publishing, the To Pimp a Butterfly artist hadn’t utilized social media (or the Oklama website) to elaborate upon the reasons behind the move, but Top Dawg Entertainment higher-ups in a statement made clear that Lamar has their “full support.”

“The whole goal when we started this thing was to make music, make money, and make history,” the Top Dawg Entertainment statement proceeds. “We did those things 10 times over and then some. TDE and its artists have provided a way to end generational curses that we were all personally born into over the last 17 years in this business.”

It’s worth reiterating in conclusion that Lamar in March of 2020 debuted a multifaceted media company, pgLang, which Google’s search-results information window now describes as a “record label.” Separately, Lamar in August of last year was named in a copyright infringement lawsuit centering on 2017’s “Loyalty.”