Kendrick Lamar’s frequent collaborator and manager Dave Free has stepped down as the co-president of the rapper’s longtime label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), Rolling Stone reports.
Free assumed the role of co-president in 2007 alongside rapper-producer Punch (real name Terrence Louis Henderson Jr). According to sources who confirmed Free’s departure to RS, the producer had been working independently “for several months.” RS also reports that Free is currently busy assisting up-and-coming Las Vegas rapper Baby Keem, who released his breakout album Die for My Bitch in July.
In an interview with Vibe last year, Free mentioned his plans to expand TDE into the world of film music. “We’re getting heavy into the film game,” he explained. “I’m trying to get heavier into it. Kendrick’s trying to get heavier into it. A lot of the guys want to get more into the content creation game. […] To us, it’s about replicating the success but also stretching our hands into as many fields as humanly possible.” Last year, TDE and Lamar collaborated with Marvel’s Black Panther director Ryan Coogler for an album inspired by the movie.
TDE was established in 2004 by Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, and helped launch the careers of many popular hip hop artists including Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and more. During his time with the label, Free also contributed production to Lamar’s Grammy-winning album DAMN.
Neither TDE nor Free has issued a statement on the report.