Top Dawg Entertainment’s Chief Executive Officer Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith says that GQ’s “Man Of The Year” story on Kendrick Lamar, which crowned the Compton, California artist “The Next King Of Rap,” included elements that were “disrespectful” and put TDE and him “in a negative light.”
“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,” Tiffith says in a statement. “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 what’s 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.”
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.’”
Another section of the article includes a story that Marsh says is not substantiated. "The gossip from Diddy's Ciroc Amaretto Launch Party/VMA Afterparty sounded like it fell out of a massive tear in the mid-'90s West Coast-East Coast time wave," the story says. "Bloggers breathlessly recounted a surreal scene at Dream: booths packed with hip-hop illuminati—Jay, Bey—mouths agape as a wasted Diddy, incensed by the 'King of New York' boast, attempted to pour a drink (Ciroc Amaretto, presumably) over Kendrick's head, only to be thwarted by Jay Z acolyte J. Cole, who was kicked out in the ensuing chaos. Naturally Kendrick himself refused to corroborate any of this. 'It was all love at that party,' he told me on the private jet.'"
In his press release, Tiffith says that TDE was launched with positive objectives.
“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,” Tiffith says. “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.
“While we think it's a tremendous honor to be named as one of the Men Of The Year, these lazy comparisons and offensive suggestions are something we won't tolerate,” Tiffith adds elsewhere in the statement. “Our reputation, work ethic, and product is something that we guard with our lives.”