Article by Amelie De Leon

Rap has truly taken over the world. The genre defines our generation, continually found on the top charts, and has gained a considerable amount of recognition everywhere, especially in the ISM community.

However, take a renowned award such as the Pulitzer Prize, which gained popularity due to its literary award. Mainly sticking to classical or jazz music, such as William Schuman’s Secular Cantata No 2 and Wynton Marsalis’ Blood on the Fields, the Pulitzer Prize has never been one to award their music award to a mainstream or popular artist. The prize was considered by the public to be “irrelevant and narrow-minded”, and quickly lost the prestige it once had. Nonetheless, the judges have suddenly opened their eyes and awarded the latest Pulitzer Prize music award to none other than the famous rapper – (known for his hit song HUMBLE) Kendrick Lamar for his recent album – DAMN. This has been the first time an artist other than a classical/jazz artist has been awarded this and is a breakthrough for the hip-hop industry. Although Kendrick Lamar has garnered even more respect and attention, it has caused quite a controversy to others on the validity of this recognition.

When asking the ISM community on their opinions on the win, some were very supportive of Kendrick’s win and thought it was refreshing to see awards such as the Pulitzer Prize “finally recognising new ideas and opening up their view of the world” as “Rap/hip-hop has been seen both negatively and positively in the past and it’s great that this genre has been proven to be a legitimate form of art.” states freshman Maanya D. She also adds that the “ideas and topics he [Kendrick] brought up in his album” were well deserving of an award with such high esteem. Many also view the situation on a positive note, freshman Elena D. comments that “the album [DAMN.]  was very lyrically advanced, like poetry with music” and freshman Isabelle P. adds that it is a “big step forward in the diversity and acceptance of hip-hop in the music industry.”

Despite the fact that many students supported the win, others disagreed. freshman An H. remarks that “there were many others more deserving [of] this award,” and that “Kendrick Lamar hasn’t reached the level of experience and professionalism to receive this award.”

Both viewpoints are extremely valid and rational, but it is easy to see that no matter what, this is a record-breaking event for the music industry. This event has shown us the world is constantly full of surprises and nothing is beyond our limitations. Congratulations to Kendrick Lamar!

Image source: Variety Magazine, 16th April 2018

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