Jay Rock & Ab-Soul’s New Songs Are Reminders Of TDE’s Greatness
Over the last 10+ years, Top Dog Entertainment has proven itself to be not just one of the greatest record labels of the 2010s, but one of the greatest in the history of Rap music. Built around the Black Hippy collective of Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q, TDE made a name for itself with music packed with substantive lyrics and lush instrumentation.
By 2013, artists like Isaiah Rashad and SZA joined the core four, eventually becoming household names in their own right. In the mid to late 10’s, however, TDE’s output began to slow, leading to frustration from fans, and even some of its artists, occasionally.
When TDE’s more recently signed artists like SiR, Lance Skiiiwalker, Ray Vaughn and Reason did not (yet) achieve the same commercial success as their predecessors at the record company, naysayers began to speculate that TDE’s triumphant run was nearing an end. That noise reached a fevered pitch when Kendrick Lamar, Top Dawg’s top star left the company to join his longtime friend and business partner, Dave Free, in launching their pgLang company.
Despite the chatter about its demise, however, TDE is alive and well. SZA’s 2022 album, SOS, was a smashing critical and commercial success. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and became the longest-running number-one female album of the decade, spending 10 weeks at the top of the chart.
In September, ScHoolboy Q previewed a new song that had social media ablaze. And, just yesterday (October 20), Jay Rock, the most recent member of Black Hippy to re-activate, released a new song.
“Blowfly” features Rock flowing over a soulful track produced by Kal Banx. Ab-Soul lends his voice to the track’s hook, but does not contribute a verse. Three weeks ago, however, Ab-Soul provided a verse to T.F. on his song, “Hidden Stages,” showing that his pen remains razor sharp. Both songs are featured on Ambrosia For Heads‘ playlist, which is updated weekly.
The playlist also features new music from CL Smooth, Little Brother, J. Cole, Del The Funky Homosapien, Paul Wall, Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist, Nick Grant and many more. If you like what you hear please subscribe.
TDE is certainly in a different stage in its evolution. As these songs and more show, it remains a consistent contributor of some of Rap’s best music, and rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.
#bonusbeat: Ambrosia For Heads did a detailed timeline of the history of TDE, in a prior episode of AFH’s What’s The Headline podcast.