Last summer, Kendrick Lamar made a rare appearance on social media, where he delivered a shocking announcement: He revealed that his upcoming fifth album would be his last under Top Dawg Entertainment. “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.” During a recent interview with Mic, TDE’s president Terrence “Punch” Henderson spoke about Kendrick’s upcoming departure and what it means to him.
“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.”
You can read Punch’s full interview with Mic, where he also discusses SZA, TDE as a whole, and more, here.