Kendrick Lamar’s pgLang family is growing.
When Kendrick announced the launch of his new venture in early 2020, it was described as a “multilingual” company that would be “at service to creators and projects that selflessly speak with, and for, the shared experiences that connect us all.” And so far, pgLang has been successful at accomplishing those goals.
The company, which was co-founded by Kendrick with Dave Free, got off to a strong start when its first signee Baby Keem became a breakout star, taking home a Grammys and earning a reputation for being one of the best new live performers in rap. Now, two years after its launch, pgLang has a new signee: LA-based rapper Tanna Leone.
Tanna tells Complex that the signing process happened organically. After directing a video for himself, he reached out to Dave Free for feedback and eventually sent over a copy of his EP, which caught Free’s attention. “I sent it to him, went to sleep, woke up, and then we talked the next day,” he recalls. “That’s where it really began.”
Sleepy Soldier, his debut project with pgLang, is a compilation of new and old tracks that Tanna has been working on for the past two years. He describes his sound as “a great balance of melody and lyrics,” and says this project highlights his versatility.
“I’m not interested in being put in a box, or people attempting to categorize me as one thing or another,” he says. “In reality, it’s pretty normal for a person to be able to change their faces depending on what room they’re going into. We all do it. So as an artist, I just wanted to be that.”
Tanna Leone spoke with Complex over the phone about why pgLang is the right fit for him, his relationships with both Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar, and the making of his new project, Sleepy Soldier, which is now streaming. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.