Label Spotlight: Top Dawg Entertainment
Top Dawg Entertainment is arguably the hottest imprint in rap. Its best-known artist, Kendrick Lamar, currently holds the unofficial title of "best rapper alive." Its newest artist — and first recruit from outside Los Angeles — is Isaiah Rashad, who earned overwhelmingly positive reviews (and a surprise Top 40 albums berth) for his debut. The label has announced six new projects for 2014 and has already made good on two: Rashad's debut, Cilvia Demo; and Schoolboy Q's third album, Oxymoron.
All this means is that TDE will be overly familiar to hip-hop listeners, if perhaps an unfamiliar quantity to others (including, sadly, Grammy voters who denied Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city a Rap Album of the Year trophy). So this playlist is not only packed with numerous hits from good kid, Schoolboy's "Hands on the Wheel" and "Collard Greens," et cetera, it also includes some great tracks you may have missed, including Ab-Soul's "The Book of Soul" and Rashad's "Ronnie Drake." Multiple appearances from Black Hippy — the original crew featuring first TDE signee Jay Rock, Lamar, Ab and Schoolboy — round out this sampler of the year's most closely watched label.