Graphic: Kyle Petreycik

From ‘GKMC’ to ‘Ctrl’: Every TDE Album, Ranked

Failure wasn’t an option for Kendrick Lamar. To fail would be to let down the label who groomed him, the city that raised him and all of hip hop that adored him. A classic Interscope debut was expected, and nothing short of greatness would be accepted. “Will you let hip hop die on October 22nd?” Kendrick asked at the end of the poignant “The Heart Pt. 3,” a final shot he let off days before the official release date. These final words were an acknowledgment that he did his part and now he needed the fans to do theirs. One man can not save a genre or culture, but he can spark a change. And nothing has been the same since Kendrick Lamar delivered his masterful album, good kid, m.A.A.d city.

Kendrick Lamar’s greatness was molded, developed and gradually harnessed. Top Dawg Entertainment took a kid overflowing with incredible capabilities and helped him achieve the highest level of evolution. It wasn’t just Kendrick, though. ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Isaiah Rashad and SZA have all entered the artistic boot camp and have reached a level of excellence rarely housed under one imprint. SiR and Lance Skiiiwalker are newcomers, but if history repeats itself, their next releases will show a massive leap forward.

What better time to take stock of TDE’s full canon than now, following the fifth anniversary of Kendrick Lamar’s GKMC—the label’s first major-label release. All 23 projects the label has released commercially since 2010 are ranked and dissected below. Enjoy.

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