Justin Timberlake and Pharrell were among those celebrating their GQ “Men of the Year” honors this week, but one “Man of the Year” was missing from the party. Kendrick Lamar boycotted the magazine’s event over an “offensive” interview.
According to TMZ, Kendrick was supposed to perform at the L.A. event earlier this week, but canceled after reading his GQ interview. In the cover story, writer Steve Marsh expresses his surprise at Kendrick’s discipline by refusing to drink and womanize like many of his rap peers.
“Kendrick doesn’t smoke weed or drink booze,” wrote Marsh. “In the time I spent with him, I never witnessed anyone roll even the thinnest spider leg of a jay, nor did I see Kendrick so much as glance at the many, many girls around him.”
The writer also notes the gang violence endemic in Kendrick’s hometown of Compton, which has plagued hip-hop.
This did not sit well with Kendrick and his camp, who claim Marsh romanticized a dark time in hip-hop rather than focusing on Kendrick’s achievements.
Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony Tiffith tells TMZ that he won’t stand for it. “To say he was ‘surprised at our discipline’ is completely disrespectful,” said Tiffith. “Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented.”
He added, “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 [Tupac and B.I.G.] … As a result of this misrepresentation, I pulled Kendrick from his performance at GQ‘s annual ‘Men of the Year’ party.”
While he appreciates the honor, he’s drawing the line. “While we think it’s a tremendous honor to be named as one of the ‘Men of the Year,’ these lazy comparisons and offensive suggestions are something we won’t tolerate.”
Read the controversial interview on GQ.com.
UPDATE: GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson has released a statement in response to TDE CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith’s comments about Kendrick’s cover story.
“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.”