Kendrick Lamar’s label Top Dawg Entertainment will release hard copies of his latest project Untitled Unmastered this week, according to some tweets from his label head. Currently, the album is only available digitally on major streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.
Top Dawg CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith tweeted a simple “Yes” in response to user @AryanJamneshan asking if fans would get hard copies of Lamar’s latest release this week, and followed up with a “Yep” to confirm that there will be vinyl, too.
This marks a sharp turn in the world of hip-hop, where musicians like Kanye West have (according to recent activity and/or Twitter rants) decided to eschew physical releases all-together, and points to fundamental differences in the way that each artist has decided to both build brand awareness and seek compensation for their work.
In fact, almost everything about Lamar’s latest surprise-album cycle seems to oppose Kanye’s recent The Life Of Pablo release; It came out with little fanfare, was immediately and easily available to consumers, and sees the musician and his label giving fans as much of what they want as they possibly can, engaging with them in the process.
— dangeroo kipawaa TDE (@dangerookipawaa) March 8, 2016
— Joe Martella (@HammyMart22) March 8, 2016
Sadly for Lamar die-hards, several unreleased songs did not make it onto his recent b-sides project, due to lack of sample clearance. Whether or not they will ever leak publically — as happens all-too-often for songs that couldn’t get legal clearance — remains to be seen. Given that Lamar seems to do everything cleanly and by the book, it would appear that the few missing tracks will probably not hit ears publicly until clearance issues are resolved.
Still, even getting eight b-sides from the famed Compton rapper is a gift, especially given how critically beloved To Pimp A Butterfly has become.
Tiffith and Top Dawg Entertainment have yet to release more information about when and where the physical copies will first drop but, if it adheres to traditional international standards, the record should hit stores as soon as this Friday.