Six weeks ago TDE founder Top Dawg took to Twitter to scold fans for what he felt was an inadequate amount of support for ScHoolboy Q's new single, "THat Part." Those fans were constantly begging him to release new music, he had, and it had only sold 26K?
Directly confronting fans was an unusually aggressive move for a label head, but Top's never been one to hold his tongue (or his Twitter fingers). It did put ScHoolboy in an awkward spot though as he began to really ramp up the promotion of his upcoming Blank Face album. Groovy Q wasn't about to contradict Top, but he also wanted only good vibes between himself and his fans, a balance he talked about during his new Hot 97 interview.
Ever since he said that, I went back like, 'Damn, is that bad?' So I went back, the only people who did better than 26 were Drake, Rihanna and Desiigner. So I'm like, 'I'm the third biggest rapper right now?!?' It was funny...since when have we started looking at first week single sales? I'm not the numbers man, but if Drake, Rihanna and Desiigner are the only ones doing better than this? I'm good, I don't know what he's talking about.
Whether it's an intentional strategy or just the way things are naturally unfolding, this feels like the classic good cop/bad cop dynamic at work. Top's doing what a good manager or label head does, push and shove when need be without the artist having to get their hands dirty. I frankly think if anything Top's scolding will hurt sales of Blank Face more than it helps, but either way someone's fighting for Q while Q himself remains at a distance.
It's the same reason Top gets on the phone and handles getting a verse from Kanye, so the verse actually happens while Q and Kanye's relationship stays purely artistic and free from any business concerns. Truth be told, we could all use a Top in our lives.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credit: Lucas Alvarado-Farrar