Last week the blogosphere was on fire over Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony Tiffith claiming that GQ magazine was racist for comparing his label to Death Row Records in its Men of the Year cover story. The imprint is home to Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, ScHoolboy Q and others. Tiffith was so upset at the perceived slight that he pulled Lamar from performing at a GQ event just hours before he was scheduled to appear. The record exec released a statement explaining his actions, part of which he said, "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."
Tiffith, also known as Top Dawg, isn't the only one who feels that TDE and Death Row Records shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence.
During a recent interview with Vibe.com, Snoop Dogg, who's celebrating the 20-year anniversary of his debut album Doggystyle, broke down some of the major differences separating the two West Coast labels.
"They're not the new Death Row because TDE did it completely differently than Death Row did it," he said
"TDE, rappers. They peaceful, they love, they get down, they rappers from everywhere, and they represent hip hop. They don't represent negativity and violence, and trying to mash and disrespect. Death Row, we came out disrespectful. Eazy-E and anybody that came out with Dr. Dre, that was our first get-down, was 'f--- them n----s up first.' That's not TDE mentality. Their mentality is, 'cool with everybody.'"
However, the veteran rapper and former Death Row signee would go on to say that, while there are no direct similarities between the two labels, he does see something of the Row in Kendrick Lamar's recent lyrical barbs fired at Drake, J. Cole and the like.
"Kendrick Lamar flipped out on everybody, that's that Death Row influence," Snoop explained. "That may have caused him to backslide and feel a certain way, which I support fully, and his thoughts on what he said because I'm from the West Coast. F--- everybody that got a problem with it. But I don't feel like TDE and Death Row are the same thing in any way. I feel like Death Row paved the way for TDE to do it in their own way, so they can stay around for 20 years from now."