When GQ magazine named Kendrick Lamar one of their “Men of the Year” they meant it as a compliment, but the way they did it rubbed the rapper the wrong way.
“Kendrick doesn’t smoke weed or drink booze. In the time I spent with him, I never witnessed anyone roll even the thinnest spider leg of a jay (joint), nor did I see Kendrick so much as glance at the many, many girls around him,” wrote Steve Marsh, who also marveled at how “disciplined” Lamar’s backers are.
The rapper’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment, has since called out the “racial overtones” of the piece which they deemed “offensive.” And Lamar has declined to appear at the magazine’s November 12th Man of the Year party.
“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. Furthermore, Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented,” wrote TDE CEO Anthony Tiffith.
GQ‘s editor-in-chief Jim Nelson has since pushed back against the criticism:
“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.”