In a recent interview with Mic, TDE president Punch spoke about Kendrick Lamar leaving the label following the release of his fifth album.
“I don’t even know if I would describe it that way as ready to leave, as more so ready to build his own thing,” Punch said. “That’s a grown man right now. We watched him grow from a teenager up into an established grown man, a businessman, and one of the greatest artists of all time. So how long do you actually be signed up under somebody? It’s been almost 20 years. So it’s time to move on and try new things and venture out.”
He continued, “He’s doing a great job developing Baby Keem. It’s always been there, but now it’s just time and space where he can actually do it. It’s a beautiful thing to watch because that’s something that started with what we built in the beginning. To see it blossom, it’s a full-circle moment.”
Last year, Lamar revealed on oklama.com that his fifth album would be the last on TDE under a folder titled “nu thoughts”.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
Lamar will be premiering new music this summer in Italy at Milano Summer Festival. Prior to that, his 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly be the focus of this season’s Spotify-exclusive podcast The Big Hit.