Kendrick Lamar’s Camp Is Not Happy With the ‘Racial Overtones’ of GQ Story

The rapper pulled out of a scheduled performance at the magazine's Man of the Year party.

By Jamilah King Nov 18, 2013

GQ Magazine put Kendrick Lamar on the cover of its annual Man of the Year issue, but the rapper’s camp is now speaking out about the accompanying profile, calling it "offensive" and filled with "racial overtones."

Lamar was one of the five celebrities to get covers for the issue, including Justin Timberlake, Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and James Gandolfini. The Compton native was interviewed by GQ’s Steve Marsh and was slated to perform on November 12 at the magazine’s Man of the Year party. But Lamar pulled out of the performance at the last minute. Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s record label, then released a statement taking issue with Marsh’s portrayal of the rapper and his communtiy in GQ. Here’s a snippet:

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. Furthermore, Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented. The 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. 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.

GQ’s editor-in-chief Jim Nelson responded with a statement of his own on Friday, saying that he doesn’t really understand why there’s a problem:

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.

You can read more over at the Atlantic Wire and Complex