Snoop Dogg rejects the parallels GQ drew in its Men of the Year profile of Kendrick Lamar, between his label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and seminal West Coast label Death Row. While TDE had accused GQ of racial profiling, the publication released a incredulous response (“We were mystified and sorely disappointed”). Snoop Dogg makes a simpler statement to VIBE: “No, they’re not the new Death Row.”
GQ sought to show how Lamar created his debut album good kid, m.A.A.D. city (“practically a black Ulysses,” the story says) despite persistent violence in his hometown Compton, California. Writer Steve Marsh said that TDE’s CEO, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, was “basically TDE’s Suge Knight.” This comparison struck a nerve among critics and Top Dawg.
Knight, Death Row’s CEO, bore a frightening reputation for threats, gun play and assaults — and its signees, like Snoop Dogg, were tasked to appear just as threatening during the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalry, a feud that culminated in the shooting deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. “The [story's] racial overtones immediately reminded everyone of a time in hip-hop that was destroyed by violence, resulting in the loss of two of our biggest stars,” Top Dawg said in a statement, a sentiment that Snoop Dogg co-signs.
“We were smashing in on n—-s,” Snoop said. “We was fucking people up. We was determined to be the hardest, meanest, baddest coldest, roughest, toughest in the game. That was our mission. TDE — they peaceful. They love. They get down. They got rappers from everywhere. And they represent hip-hop. They don’t represent negativity and violence.”
While teamed with Dam-Funk for his latest side gig 7 Days of Funk, Snoop Dogg is currently (and seriously) performing as Snoopzilla. That said, to see him talk of his past and current projections for TDE is a sobering reminder of the weighty legacy that Death Row bears — namely, that no label wants to be compared to it as GQ had done. Or, as Snoop says: “Death Row paved the way for TDE to do it in their own way, so that they can stay around 20 years from now.”
Check out the rest of Snoop’s statement at VIBE.
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