By Xavieria Terry
Pulitzer prizes are normally given to classical or jazz musicians, poets and novelists. Yet, Kendrick Lamar changed that dynamic this year. Released in April 2017, Lamar’s year-old album “Damn” has been awarded the Pulitzer prize.
Not only is this a big deal for Lamar, but for hip hop music in general. The album is said to have shown a complete view of the modern African American lifestyle guided by “vernacular authenticity” throughout the collection of songs. Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, said: “It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers.”
During the decision making process, the jury listened to the album and decided to consider it as a winner for this year’s Pulitzer prizes. Though some classical musicians felt insulted to be put on the same pedal stool as a rap artist such as Kendrick Lamar, many people embraced his win. The head of Lamar’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment, says that he better not ever hear anyone “speak with less than respect in [their] mouths for Kendrick Lamar.
As the Pulitzer’s are “expanding” their view on music, they have definitely shifted to different genres and are making progress on including others in their award making decisions. With the surprising win of Lamar’s album “Damn” , there is hope to see other albums like it to win such sophisticated awards.