Welcome to the DJBooth rap conspiracy theory corner. Strap on a tinfoil hat, put a banana in your socks so the aliens can't beam you up and let's get to it.
The "official" story behind the release of this new surprise Kendrick Lamar album is that LeBron James successfully pressured TDE into releasing it.
On February 24, Bron Bron tweeted at Top, the CEO of TDE, and the wheels were set in motion. Five days later TDE announced that it would be dropping a surprise project soon, and then when untitled unmastered dropped late last night Top essentially credited Lebron with being the driving force behind it on Instagram, writing "thank king james for this."
But what if it was all a setup?
What if TDE had been planning on dropping this project for a minute and coordinated with LeBron to generate hype and demand for a project? The most popular basketball player on the planet "needs" that new Kendrick Lamar, he "makes it happen," it's a great story that's generated tons of headlines on big sports sites that wouldn't have covered a TDE release otherwise. But looking beyond King James, there's no more deliberate and careful label than TDE. They don't drop loose songs or mixtapes, no freestyles, no throwaway verses. Every Instagram post, every song, every project from the squad is a surgical strike sometimes is literally planned out years in advance.
TDE routinely holds onto projects for months, fighting off fan and artist pressure (Solo ho), refusing to release any music they feel is anything less than their absolute best. And they suddenly fold to pressure from a basketball player and release a literally unfinished and not even mastered collection of leftovers from the biggest artist on their label and one of the biggest artists in hip-hop?
Like any good conspiracy theory I have absolutely no proof, I'm simply asking enough questions to plant that seed of doubt and drawing some dubious connections. JET FUEL CAN'T MELT STEEL BEAMS. For example, remember when Demar DeRozan "revealed" that Drake would be dropping a new mixtape soon, rumors started flying and then we got IYRTITL a couple weeks later? And then the same thing happened around WATTBA? The new wave is for the artist to stay completely quiet, get the internet talking by planting some rumors about the project and then boom, surprise release motherfuckers!!!!
Or at least that's the wave in the rap internet conspiracy theory community, which to be fair consists of me, Yoh and people who believe there's an actual IllumaIlluminati I've seen enough conspiracy theories proved true to believe that no matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough. Stay woke.
UPDATE: LeBron playing his part with some post-release promo.