Kendrick Lamar, one of the hottest rappers from this generation’s “New School”, was recently honored by GQ Magazine as Rapper of the Year.
The 18th Annual Men of the Year issue featured not only a photo shoot of the TDE MC looking dapper and well dressed, but an interview as well, with Steve Marsh.
Everything seemed fine until news hit that Kendrick was VERY unhappy with the GQ article for his interview and decided to protest the GQ Men of the Year party by not attending the event and canceling his performance.
Apparently Lamar, and the rest of his camp over at Top Dawg Entertainment, did not appreciate the “racial overtones” that were used in Marsh’s interview with the rapper.
Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, CEO of TDE, released an official statement regarding his issues with the publication:
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. 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 whats wrong with Hip Hop music… 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.
I hate to admit it, but he has a point. Even if the article by Marsh was not done with ill intent, that doesn’t mean he’s not susceptible to stereotypical thinking; especially when it comes to Hip Hop.
Which is why I wasn’t surprised when GQ responded with pure shock and confusion by TDE’s and Lamar’s decision to boycott the article and event.
GQ’s editor-in-chief Jim Nelson released his own statement in regards to Tiffith’s:
“Kendrick Lamar is one of the most talented new musicians to arrive on the scene in years. That’s the reason we chose to celebrate him, wrote an incredibly positive article declaring him the next King of Rap, and gave him our highest honor: putting him on the cover of our Men of the Year issue. I’m not sure how you can spin that into a bad thing, and I encourage anyone interested to read the story and see for themselves. We were mystified and sorely disappointed by Top Dawg’s decision to pull him at the last minute from the performance he had promised to give. The real shame is that people were deprived of the joy of seeing Kendrick perform live. I’m still a huge fan.”
I also can’t be mad at Nelson’s statement either. Like I said before, I’m sure GQ meant no harm with their article, and unfortunately literature all kinds (whether its a celebrity interview or a novel) is open for different interpretations.
However, both sides handled the situation well. TDE did what they thought was right for their artist, and GQ made it clear that they were, and still are, a big fan of the Compton MC.
Will the two work together in the future, who knows?
In the mean time check out the freestyle Kendrick did at the photo shoot for GQ and let me know what you guys think about this controversy in the comments below!