Kendrick Lamar's winning of The Pulitzer Prize in Music is a historical event and essential turning point for the Hip Hop and RnB music industries.
2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Wknd 2/Day 3
According to NPR, Kendrick Lamar's "exceptionalism is now officially historic." It's The Pulitzer Prize in Music. Let's just be clear here. It's Hip Hop Music. Hip Hop has officially taken back its rightful place in our culture. Wouldn't you agree? Let's look at The Pulitzer Prize, shall we.
What is The Pulitzer Prize? According to Pulitzer.com, The Pulitzer Prize originates with Joseph Pulitzer, whom stood out at the very embodiment of American journalism. He is remembered as being the "most skillful of newspaper publishers, a passionate crusader against dishonest government, a fierce, hawk-like competitor who did not shrink from sensationalism in circulation struggles and a visionary who richly endowed his profession."
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The Pulitzer Prize was established by Joseph Pulitzer himself. In his 1904 will, he made provisions for the establishment of the Prize as an "incentive to excellence." He specified solely four awards or prizes in journalism, four in letters and drama, one in education, and five traveling scholarships. Some of the scholarships were administered and awarded by Columbia University in the area of art and music.
The Pulitzer Prize for music had been historically awarded to composers of classical music. In 1998, the category was "broadened to attract a wider range of American music." The winds of change were blowing strongly at that time, evidenced by Wynton Marsalis's being awarded the The Pulitzer Prize in 1997. Marsalis won the prize for his work, "Blood on the Fields." This was the first time the prize had been awarded for jazz.
Today, Kendrick Lamar has been awarded The Pulitzer Prize for his work, "DAMN." According to Pulitzer, Lamar's work is "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life."