In the most unlikely place, Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album “DAMN.” This was the first time a Hip-Hop album and the first non-Jazz or Classical album to win in the music category.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware about the fact the Pulitzer Prize has a music category; because when you hear music awards, you think of the likes of the Grammys and MTV being the ones hosting this.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the choices they make with their awards and the fact I’ve seen an unlikely source to give an award like this to Lamar gives me a sense of justice. While “DAMN.” may not be Lamar’s best album (I would have given it to “good kid m.A.A.d. city”), it feels right that he gets recognition he deserves for his music.
The effort that Lamar put towards ALL of his music is something that will be felt decades from now. His focus on social issues in the world shows how he is The Clash of his generation. “DNA.,” “Hood Politics,” “The Blacker the Berry” and “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” are examples of songs that will leave you thinking of the world around and wondering what can you do about it.
Being the first Hip-Hop album to win this prize, what will it mean for the genre? Will this encourage more awards shows to follow and find artists who are similar in vein? Has the genre finally been accepted from the older institutions?
This is not the first time the genre has received such awards. Last year saw Jay-Z inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame while LL Cool J received the Kennedy Center Honors. But these are artists who are long established and ones that should have received it a long time ago.
Has the mainstream finally realize that Hip-Hop is more than just Migos and Future? Are they now aware of other modern-day great artists in the genre (like Danny Brown or Brockhampton)? I currently don’t have the answers to those, but from what we have witnessed in the past few days, the answer could be yes.
I’m glad to see an artist of my generation getting recognition by institutions like the Pulitzer Prize. It’s showing how far the genre of Hip-Hop has gotten and is finally being recognize as more than a genre that kids will like. It’s a genre that can also bring up topics and issue for older audiences to think about while being accessible. We’ve been praying for you, Kung Fu Kenny.
Listen to “DAMN.” here: