TDE President Punch discussed the vision for the West Coast record label during a recent visit to Homegrown Radio (September 26). Speaking with host Chuck Dizzle, Punch explained that TDE is still working to establish itself as a “legit record company.”
“We had success with Kendrick [Lamar’s] first album,” Punch said in reference to good kid, m.A.A.d. city, which is certified platinum. “Now we’ve gotta do it again. It don’t stop right there. [ScHoolboy Q’s] up next so we’re gonna keep pushing. That’s the goal. It’s always been the goal, to really make our mark as a key label like the Death Rows or the Roc-A-Fellas, Ruff Ryders, whatever.”
In March of 2012, the CEO of TDE, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, confirmed that the label closed a deal with Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records, bringing the independent imprint into the major label system.
When asked whether signing with Aftermath and Interscope was a good idea considering the options available to independent artists, Punch said “it was the perfect move for us.”
“It might’ve been different for somebody else depending on their system,” he continued. “What people don’t know about the independent game is you need some bread to actually do it. We actually had success on both. Section.80 sold over 100,000 copies and that was all just us—nobody else. Then of course, with good kid, m.A.A.d. city, you see that success.”
Punch also said that following Strange Music’s business example taught TDE how to build its brand. “We learned a lot from following the model of Strange Music, Tech N9ne, Travis [O’Guin] and those guys,” he said. “They really pounded the road. They stay on the road. That’s how they generate everything that they got going.”
When asked what advice he had for aspiring artists, Punch said having a vision is what’s most important.
“I always give the example of Ab-Soul,” he said. “He has his third Grammy speech prepared. He really sees it. He sees himself where he wants to be—like now. And everything else is falling into place for him. Of course it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline, but you have to have that vision. If you don’t have the vision, then you’re just making songs.”
Homegrown Radio airs Thursdays at 9PM PST.