TDE President Punch Expresses Concern & Pride Over Kendrick Lamar Leaving The Label

Kendrick Lamar

The record executive reflects on K. Dot going out on his own.

Kendrick Lamar rose to superstardom through his association with West Coast-based Top Dawg Entertainment. The Compton emcee chose to part ways with the label in order to start pgLang.

TDE President Terrence “Punch” Henderson Jr. recently spoke about Kendrick Lamar’s departure. During an interview with Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion podcast, the A Room Full of Mirrors member shared his thoughts on the matter.

“I care about him generally as a person,” said Punch about Kendrick Lamar. “But, using the analogy like if you got kids, at some point, they gotta go outside. You can’t walk with them everywhere they go. They gotta go out and gather their own experiences.”

Punch also added, “Even if they fall on their head, they gotta fall on their head, get up, learn from that, and keep moving. You’re concerned always. But it’s still like, ‘I’m proud of you, bro. Do what you do.’ If you need something, the phone is open.”

pgLang Has Already Worked With Calvin Klein

Kendrick Lamar and longtime collaborator Dave Free launched pgLang in 2020. The private enterprise serves as a record label, a production company, and a music publishing service.

In 2021, pgLang created a promotional campaign for American fashion house Calvin Klein. Dave Free directed the 7 video series which featured Baby Keem, Ryan Destiny, Keith Powers, Brent Faiyaz, and more.

“It’s a good thing to have people who understand your creative language. I always go back to the language and that’s how we damn near made this company,” stated Lamar two years ago. You have to be able to share and experience the same language, or teach another language.”

Punch Previously Said Kendrick Lamar Needs To Try New Things

Kendrick Lamar released Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers album in May via PGLang, TDE, Aftermath, and Interscope. The critically-acclaimed, chart-topping project is likely Lamar’s last project for Top Dawg Entertainment.

Punch explained to Mic in February, “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.”

Additionally, Punch addressed the rumors that R&B singer SZA was not happy with how she has been handled at TDE. In the same My Expert Opinion sitdown, Punch suggested he and the label had no reason to hold back the release of SZA’s sophomore studio LP.