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Why Kendrick deserves Pulitzer Prize

Ever since he won on April 18, many on social media have been debating whether or not Kendrick Lamar deserved to win the Pulitzer Prize for music for his album “DAMN.”

The artist is the not only the first rapper to claim this accolade, but also the first winner who wasn’t a jazz or or classical musician.

The overall concept of this album is very relevant in today’s society and the execution was even better. The question should not be “Why did he win?” It should be “Why shouldn’t he have won?”

Never before have I listened to an album that almost feels like its own form of poetic journalism. While he may not be writing for any news outlets, he reports his experiences and he speaks from a perspective unlike any other.

With this album, Lamar is able to document the reality of the country that we live in.
Numerous tweets and online posts have been made that attempt to explain why Lamar didn’t deserve this award.

One of the most common statement I have stumbled across is that he should have won the Pulitzer Prize for literature rather than for music since he is “more of a poet than a musician.”

Yes, he is a lyricist and a great poet. When you think about it, though, rap is essentially poetry and for that matter, all lyrical music is lyrical poetry. Being able to convey a strong message while also having to worry about the basic principles of rap is a skill that very few mainstream rappers possess.

Most can’t even follow just one of those principles to begin with. It would be foolish not to regard Lamar as a musician given his clear grasp of rhythm, timing, and phrasing.

The intricacy of his verses is second to none and it is obvious that he cannot be compared to other modern rappers. There is a reason why he is compared to hip-hop icons such as Tupac Shakur and A

Tribe Called Quest. You cannot ignore the strength of the political messages embedded within the lyrics of this album and his execution in doing so is amazing.

Throughout “DAMN.,” Lamar explains the politics behind the life of an African-American citizen to live in contemporary America among all of the discrimination they must face while also conveying his political views.

In his 11th track, “XXX”, Lamar demonstrates his poetic eloquence in this verse where he talks about President Trump’s election and describes a deteriorating America.
“The great American flag/ Is wrapped and dragged with explosives/ Compulsive disorder, sons and daughters/ Barricaded blocks and borders/ Look what you taught us!”

This verse is about America as it is being taken over by a man who many don’t believe should be president, Donald Trump. This is incredibly powerful and I think that a lot of people can relate to feeling as though our country was going to fall apart once Trump was elected.

Like I said before, no other rapper can speak about a controversial topic such as this and make it sound as smooth as Lamar does.

The Pulitzer Prize website itself says that the prize is intended to “honor excellence in journalism and the arts”. Since that is the case, why did Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” not deserve to win the Pulitzer Prize?

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Why Kendrick deserves Pulitzer Prize