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DAMN, Another Award?

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Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Jamie Park, Staff Writer

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  On Monday, April 16, Kendrick Lamar’s album, DAMN., won the Pulitzer Prize, making history as the the first rapper to win the award.

  The Pulitzer Prize is an award given out to achievements made in American literature, journalism, and music. Thirteen awards are given out each year, and the music award is usually given out to classical or jazz pieces. However, this year, the award was given to a rap album.

  Steven Le (12) was not surprised that Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize. He said, “As time goes on, entertainment changes. Back then, poetry and classical music were the popular entertainment. Today, [it is] rap, so it [does not] surprise me that Lamar won. He put a lot of work into his album; he deserves it.”

  The Pulitzer jury came upon Lamar’s album while searching for music with a hip-hop influence. The idea behind DAMN. was the reason the jury gave the album the award. According to Genius, DAMN. was inspired by Kendrick’s inner struggle to not let success and overconfidence get the best of him.

  However, not everyone is satisfied with Lamar winning the award. Classical music editor from the New York Times, Zachary Woolfe, believes that the award could have gone to other musicians that are not as well-known. He stated, “But it has felt for decades like an integral part of the Pulitzer’s mission is to shine a light on corners of music that are otherwise nearly ignored by the broader culture.”

  Jon Pareles, a pop music critic, concurs with Woolfe. Pareles also noticed that DAMN. was the first album with more than one producer, composer, and singer to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Typically, the award would be given out to music with one composer.

  Brandon Park (10) was excited that Lamar got the award. However, he said, “I can see where Pareles is coming from. The Pulitzer Prize is a great way to discover new music that I [do not] normally listen to, so I can see what Pareles is trying to say.”

  In the end, Lamar’s achievement did not only make music history, but it also became a step forward for prize-giving institutions as they break out of their old traditions and branch off to new musical territory.

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DAMN, Another Award?