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Did Kendrick Lamar Threaten to Pull His Music From Spotify Over XXXTentacion Ban?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Kendrick Lamar attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Last night, Bloomberg reported that Spotify is preparing to soften its recent “hateful conduct” policy that resulted in artists like R. Kelly and XXXTentacion being removed from the service’s curated playlists. Per Bloomberg, Spotify is bowing to both internal and external pressure, with the former reportedly coming in part from Troy Carter—the company’s head of artist relations, who also used to manage Lady Gaga and is currently the custodian of Prince’s posthumous music—who supposedly threatened to quit over the new policy. But most interesting is one person who may have been applying that external pressure. From Bloomberg:

Representatives for several acts, including rapper Kendrick Lamar, called Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek and head of artist relations Troy Carter to express their frustration. They also threatened to pull their music if the company maintained its current policy.

The wording here is either pointedly vague or confusingly sloppy. It would be a big deal if Kendrick Lamar, recent Pulitzer Prize winner and the mainstream rapper perhaps most seen to represent the genre’s moral center, threw his considerable weight around to get XXXTentacion back on Spotify’s powerful rap playlists. Based on Bloomberg’s wording–“representatives for several acts”–it’s possible, as Genius’ Brendan Frederick speculated on Twitter, that UMG, Kendrick’s label, is leveraging its established stars in order to salvage its budding one. On the other hand, back in August 2017, Kendrick tweeted a link to X’s album 17, writing, “listen to this album if you feel anything. raw thoughts.”

A representative for Lamar did not respond to a request for comment.