Pulitizer Praise

Auston Gonzalez, Staff Writer

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After losing the Grammy Award for album of the year in late January, Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” received a greater honor, winning the Pulitzer Prize for music last month. Lamar is the first winner who is not a classical or jazz musician since the music category was added in the 1940s. 

However, this does not come as a surprise. Not only did hip-hop recently overtake rock as the nation’s most popular genre, but one of its signature artists has become one of the greatest influences in popular culture. “DAMN.,” which went double platinum in the matter of months, has a clear political message regarding equal rights and stereotypes and story that speaks to a wide audience. 

The Pulitzer Prize shines a new light on hip-hop because it validates the sophistication some believe hip-hop lacks, with a newer generation of rap artists facing backlash for being unprofessional in appearance and on social media. 

Lamar has been a top-tier artist in the genre for several years and is approaching the ranks of all-time greats because of his consistent passion and social-change message. 

His 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” is another example of both his controversy and influence, with the cover itself showing a White House takeover by a group of black men, which is a brilliant twist on political views and addresses the elephant in the room that people try to ignore in modern politics.

 It wouldn’t have even been a shock if this album were to receive the honor before “DAMN.” was released. “DAMN.” is more straightforward with tracks such as “XXX” which discusses the divide of American people and directly mentions the presidency of Donald Trump, while also producing several other hit tracks including “HUMBLE” and “DNA.” 

Any work that is both entertaining as well as informative is bound to receive significant attention, even if attention is a negative. 

Anyone who does not understand why “DAMN.” deserves a Pulitzer Prize in music is closed-minded in that just because an award for hip-hop sophistication is unorthodox does not mean it is undeserved. 

The genre can no longer be ignored or even stereotyped. Hip-hop is taking the world by storm, and this is all the more proof to say so.   

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