Kendrick Lamar has made pop music history.
The superstar SoCal rapper has won the Pulitzer Prize for music with his brilliant “DAMN.” album, marking the first time something other than a classical or jazz recording has won the award, according to the associated press.
It’s the latest excellent decision made the Pulitzer folks, following such nods as awarding The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa this year’s prize for breaking news reporting award for its Wine Country fire coverage and the same award in 2017 for the Ghost Ship fire coverage to the East Bay Times.
It also underscores the latest horrible decision that the Grammy voters have made.
Many were (rightfully) shocked when Lamar’s universally acclaimed “DAMN.” was bested for the 2018 Grammy for album of the year by Bruno Mars’ incredibly popular, and equally mediocre, “24 Magic.” And “24 K Magic” wasn’t even the second best album in the mix. (It was actually the fourth best out of the five nominated.)
Mars also bested Lamar in another of biggie categories — Record of the Year — as the title track to Mars’ album overcame one of the key “DAMN.” tracks “Humble.”
The Lamar snub was just one of many things that were wrong with the 2018 Grammys, but it was the one that definitely underscored Grammy voters’ pathetic track record when it comes to honoring hip-hop — arguably the world’s most vibrant musical art form — over the decades.
And 2018 looked so promising for the Grammys, with both Jay-Z and Lamar holding several nominations and seemingly set to battle it out for the title of album of the year. Unfortunately, hip-hop was snubbed in all four of the big “general field” categories, where acts/songs from different genres compete battle it out.
No surprise, right? The last hip-hop album to take home the album of the year prize was OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” in 2004. In the meantime, we’ve seen Arcade Fire top Eminem, Daft Punk best Lamar and Herbie Hancock, U2 and others topple Kanye West, etc, — and now Bruno Mars best Lamar. In all, Lamar has been nominated three times for album of the year and never won.
And a hip-hop artist has never won the award for song or record of the year.
But hip-hop has the last laugh here, as Lamar will just have to put that Pulitzer where those Grammy Awards should’ve gone.