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UMPG Signs Kendrick Lamar to Worldwide Administration Deal

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has signed Kendrick Lamar to an exclusive, worldwide administration deal, the publisher announced today (Oct…

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has signed Kendrick Lamar to an exclusive, worldwide administration deal, the publisher announced today (Oct. 27).

Widely regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all-time, the Compton rapper, songwriter and producer known for his socially-conscious lyricism has earned 13 Grammy Awards and released three No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 — To Pimp a Butterfly, Untitled Unmastered, and DAMN. — as well as his lauded major-label debut Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and the No. 1 soundtrack Black Panther: The Album. In 2017, DAMN. was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, making Lamar the first non-classical and non-jazz artist to receive the honor.

The announcement comes after Lamar launched his own entertainment company, pgLang, in March, and recently dispelled rumors that he had left his longtime label, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE).

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“Kendrick Lamar is not only one of the greatest lyricists that has ever lived, but he has done as much or more than any artist to promote much needed change in our society through music,” said UMPG chairman and CEO Jody Gerson. “I and my colleagues at UMPG are deeply honored to be afforded the opportunity to join Kendrick, [TDE founder and CEO] Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith and the TDE family to help forward his unique and important vision.”

Added Tiffith: “Kendrick and I are excited for our new partnership with Jody Gerson and UMPG. Jody was passionate from the jump — she fought to make this deal happen.”

In 2018, Lamar was rumored to be eyeing a new publishing deal at the expiration of his agreement with Warner/Chappell Music. At the time, sources told Billboard that TDE was considering offers of between $20 million and $40 million, depending on the terms.

Meanwhile, pgLang, Lamar’s new project with manager Dave Free, will encompass a record label, movie studio and publishing house. Rising rapper Baby Keem, who is also Lamar’s cousin, is the first artist to partner with the new company.