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Why is Kendrick Lamar leaving TDE after 17 years? Shocked fans say ‘retirement is very close’

Lamar shared a mysterious folder on his Instagram and Twitter accounts respectively which further took his fans to a new website called Oklama
UPDATED AUG 21, 2021
Kendrick Lamar is leaving Top Dawg Entertainment (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Kendrick Lamar is leaving Top Dawg Entertainment (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Kendrick Lamar, who last dropped a full-length project in 2017 with ‘Damn’, shocked his fans over the weekend after he logged into his social media accounts only to reveal that he is leaving his record label of 17 years Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) but not before dropping a “final album” with them.

The Pulitzer Prize winning rapper shared a mysterious folder on his Instagram and Twitter accounts respectively which further took his fans to a new website called Oklama. The site welcomed the hip-hop fans with a lengthy post that detailed the reason why Lamar was ditching TDE after so many years. The 34-year-old rapper quickly secured a spot on the trending list as a social media users also got elated with the fact they will soon get to hear Lamar’s new album along with Drake’sCertified Lover Boy’ and Kanye West’s 'Donda'.
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Kendrick Lamar performs onstage with SZA during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2018 in Indio, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella)

Why is Kendrick Lamar ditching his record label TDE after 17 years?

Lamar in his lengthy post revealed how he was spending his days writing and listening to new music adding that there is a beauty in completion while bidding adieu to his record label. The ‘Humble’ hitmaker stated, “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.” He added, “Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family.”

Continuing in the same post, the Grammy-winning rapper asserted with a heavy heart, “While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next. 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.” Lamar concluded, “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.” He signed it off with a name similar to the site- Oklama.  The multi-platinum hip-hop artist also shared a monochrome picture of him straight from a recording booth hinting his new album might be on the way sooner than expected. For the unversed, Lamar signed with TDE in 2005 and has dropped all his projects under the same label.

Kendrick Lamar performs on the Coachella Stage during day 3 (Weekend 2) of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 23, 2017 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

How did Kendrick Lamar’s record label react?

Reacting to Lamar’s lengthy post of him, TDE’s boss Anthony Tiffith shared a respectable post on Instagram. “The whole goal when we started this thing was to make music, make money, and make history. We did those things 10 times over and then some.” He continued, “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.”
Tiffith further shared, “With this being Dot’s last album on TDE, this is more of a VICTORY LAP, a celebration. I know he will be successful in whatever it is he decides to do and will have our FULL support.” He concluded, “As for Top Dawg Entertainment, we will continue to grow, develop and give artists the platform to expand into whatever way they choose. Heart, Honor, Respect.” Tiffith had captioned the post, “It’s been an honor and a privilege for TDE to bless the world with the GOAT!"

Apart from Lamar, Top Dawg Entertainment is also home to artists like ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, SZA, Lance Skiiiwalker, SiR, REASON, Zacari, MixedByAli, Sounwave and a few others.

‘Always thought Top Dawg was started by Kendrick’

Hip-hop fans were left stunned the moment Lamar dropped the bomb on social media. Reacting to the news, one fan stated, “New Kendrick, New Drake, New Kanye… this s**t crazy.” Whereas, another shared, “Kendrick Lamar finna drop the most iconic piece of art of the 21 century.” One user added, “Kendrick Lamar & Top Dawg Entertainment need to sit down and figure it out.”
One user tweeted, “Kendrick lamar about to show why he’s top 3 best rappers EVER.” Meanwhile, another person asserted, “I always thought as a kid top dawg was started by Kendrick and it was only him until I got older and saw how big the family really was.” And, another fan stated, “I respect people like Kendrick. Who only speak when necessary, and grab your full attention when they do. Thats real power and security within self.” While one individual concluded, “Yeahhh im not ready for that but he did say last TDE album. I don’t think he leaves TDE and goes somewhere else, retirement is very close.”

Kendrick Lamar performs during the third day of Lollapalooza Buenos Aires 2019 at Hipodromo de San Isidro on March 31, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Santiago Bluguermann/Getty Images)