What the hell is pgLang? According to promo materials released today, it’s “a new multi-lingual, at service company” founded by Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free, the former president of Kendrick’s record label Top Dawg Entertainment. A press release declares that pgLang “is not a ‘record label,’ a ‘movie studio,’ or a ‘publishing house.’ This is something new.” Free writes, “In this overstimulated time, we are focused on cultivating raw expression from grassroots partnerships,” while a graphic at the company’s official website explains that “multi-lingual” really means multi-disciplinary:
pgLang is multilingual. Our community speaks music, film, television, art, books, and podcasts — because sometimes, we have to use different languages to get the point of our stories across. Stories that speak to many nations, many races, and many ages. That is why our writers, singers, directors, musicians, and producers break formats when we build ideas and make them real for the curious.
Putting round pegs through square holes is not a process, but we embrace the idea of anarchy and challenges that make us stronger. pgLang is focused on using our experiences, and nurturing our many collaborators, to build stories that are equally accessible and engaging then fitting them within the best media.
We are creators.
The press release also quotes 19-year-old rapper Baby Keem (pictured above with Kendrick), who is apparently one of pgLang’s first clients. In October, Rolling Stone reported that Free had left his job at TDE and was working with Keem, who experienced a rapid ascent with last year’s debut album Die For My Bitch. This new company appears to be the context for that. Here’s Keem’s statement:
Astronaut ideas. That is what I call the shit that I know I want but that stand alone. You know? Like, not everything has to ‘make sense’ to me in a rational way. This is how my mind stays fresh, by letting myself have my astronaut ideas and developing them even though it might confuse anyone else.”
The pgLang site also features a “visual mission statement” for the company, a four-minute short film starring Kendrick, Keem, Jorja Smith, and Yara Shahidi. The clip opens with “Jump 2,” an unreleased Keem song that, according to Genius, features Kendrick. It concludes with new music written by Florence Welch and Kamasi Washington. The company also announced itself with a wraparound ad that covered the Los Angeles Times today:
With all the corporate-speak in the promo materials, at first I wondered if this was an elaborate conceptual rollout for Kendrick’s new album — the one that former Billboard editor Bill Werde says is “pulling in more rock sounds,” the one we ranked #1 on our list of 2020’s most anticipated albums. But all factors considered, it looks like pgLang is a real company. My next question is whether that new Kendrick album will be dropping on TDE after all.
Who knows wtf dot doin lol
— REASON TDE (@reasonTDE) March 5, 2020