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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Kendrick Lamar: The first rapper to win Pulitzer Prize

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News Desk |

American rapper Kendrick Lamar made the history on Monday April 16, as he became the first musician from non-classical genre to win Pulitzer Prize in 60 years, since the birth of modern pop music.

The 30-year old Kendrick Lamar brought a revolution as Pulitzer Prize in music was previously only reserved for classical music. This recognition came for pop music industry after struggling for nearly seven decades.

Kendrick Lamar’s highest-selling album of 2017 ‘Damn’ brought him the Pulitzer Prize. He addressed serious issues like black empowerment, protest, Trump presidency, and violence in his album.

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‘Damn.’ is a step forward from its predecessor album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ that was lauded by the former President of US. His words infused with ‘Jazz’ in the album backed the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

Pulitzer board described, “DAMN.” as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.”

‘Damn’ has talked about fame, love, racial politics, personal struggle, and religion in introspection. He however, has subtly addressed the issue of race in ‘Damn’ that he first raised in his album.

Kendrick Lamar has already produced three albums while ‘Damn.’ is Lamar’s fourth album that topped the Billboard 200 album charts for consecutively three weeks after its release. ‘Damn.’ also brought him five awards at the Grammy Awards in January 2018 in New York but could not win the ‘Best Album Award’.

Hip-hop and rap have become the biggest musical genre in the United States last year, surpassing the popularity of ‘Rock’ music.

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Kendrick Lamar was born and raised in Los Angeles suburb of Compton. He started making music as a 16-year-old. He also produced the soundtrack for the 2018 superhero box-office hit film Black Panther and performed the lead single ‘Pray For Me ‘with The Weekend.

Pulitzer board in 2004 announced to expand the category of music, but it did not include the pop music. Pop music did not constitute their idea of “distinguished American musical compositions”. It was a mere attempt to award American music coming that did not come from the European classic tradition.