Skip to main content

TDE President Punch Calls Jay Rock's Signing with TDE an "Accident"

Patience is the most important virtue in the rap game.
DJBooth_logo2x

Often, label signings can be a lengthy and laborious process. For Jay Rock and TDE, it was more about being at the right place at the right time.

On the latest installment of Complex’s video series, Blueprint, TDE President Terrence "Punch" Henderson sat down with Noah Callahan-Bever to discuss the history of the Los Angeles-based label, including the origin stories of the TDE roster. Starting with the label’s first signee, Jay Rock, Punch reveals that his signing was the byproduct of Rock being on the right corner at the right moment.

Scroll to Continue

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

5-Albums-Header

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

New albums from Fireboy DML, Pigeons & Planes, ELIO, SANNI, and Baani Sandhu? Audiomack has a breakdown of all the must-hear new releases this week.

Copy-of-Best-of-the-Week-Header--1-

5 Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Get familiar with new releases from Beyoncé, JAE5, DJ Tunez, NAV, and DOMi and JD Beck.

5-Albums-Header--4-

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

New albums from Doe Boe, Hotboii, Kweku Flick and more? We have a complete rundown of all the new releases you should make time to hear.

“[Jay Rock’s signing] happened on accident,” Punch explains. “It was another guy from our neighborhood who was coming over recording. One day, Top was going to pick him up and he asked Top could he bring Jay Rock and another guy. So Top was like, 'Cool, wait for me on this street, I'll be there to pick y'all up.' When Top give you a time, it's like the cable man, it's like a good four-hour window. The artist, the kid who was coming, he got impatient and he left... The other two—Jay Rock and the other guy—was like 'Alright, we gon' stay then.' As soon as he left, maybe twenty minutes later, Top pulled up.”

Whether this was fate or luck, as soon as Jay Rock got in the car and they heard his voice, Punch says that it was a done deal. “It was just his tone, the way he sounded. Like, that voice shouldn't be coming out of his frame,” Punch emphatically recalls.

Jay Rock’s talent and the serendipity of his meeting Top are great pieces of Top Dawg trivia, but the real lesson comes from the nameless artist who missed out on a major opportunity. We’ll never know if that person had the same level of talent as the rest of the current TDE roster, but he very well could have. The weight of that what-if alone should be enough to assure any artist currently in the trenches that their time and effort is more likely to pay off than the alternative of giving up.  

Success in any industry, especially in the creative space, involves a lot of patience and a dash of good fortune. The waiting game is not for everyone, but those who hold out and plod forward tend to be the ones doing Blueprint interviews or selling out shows. There is, of course, the what-if of never succeeding, but living with failure can’t possibly be as crushing as knowing you missed out on a life-changing opportunity.

Related

Copy-of-Best-of-the-Week-Header--1-

5 Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Get familiar with new releases from Beyoncé, JAE5, DJ Tunez, NAV, and DOMi and JD Beck.

5-Albums-Header--4-

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

New albums from Doe Boe, Hotboii, Kweku Flick and more? We have a complete rundown of all the new releases you should make time to hear.

Best-of-the-Week-Header--4-

5 Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Tap in to brand new songs from Megan Thee Stallion, Pabi Cooper, Doechii, Nija, and KIRBY.

5-Albums-Header-1

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new albums from Tiago PZK, Flo Milli, Icewear Vezzo, Ms Banks, and Reggie & O'Kenneth.

Header

10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Tell all your friends about Ken Carson, Strick, Cochise, Dougie B, Lil Kayla, and more. Audiomack introduces you to the rappers who are up next.

Header--18-

“Music Was Going to Be My Way Out”: An Interview With JeriQ

Rising Nigerian artist JeriQ has made his dreams come true. He breaks down his journey for Audiomack World.