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Top 5 Reasons DAMN Won A Pulitzer Prize

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Script by Michael Wynands On April 16th, 2018, Kendrick Lamar made history. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 5 Reasons “DAMN.” Won a Pulitzer Prize. For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the many reasons why the Compton rapper’s critically acclaimed album, “DAMN.”, was worthy of this prestigious prize - which had previously only ever been awarded to classical and jazz compositions. Like our videos? Head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest to submit your own video ideas today!
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Top 5 Reasons DAMN. Won a Pulitzer Prize




On April 16th, 2018, Kendrick Lamar made history. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 5 Reasons “DAMN.” Won a Pulitzer Prize.



For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the many reasons why the Compton rapper’s critically acclaimed album, “DAMN.”, was worthy of this prestigious prize - which had previously only ever been awarded to classical and jazz compositions.





#5: His Impact is Undeniable: He’s Changed the Public Perception of Rap




In 2011, Kendrick was crowned the new king of West Coast rap by legends like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg - and has since gone on to prove himself worthy of the title multiple times over. Whenever a discussion about rap’s GOAT (greatest of all time) occurs, his name is consistently among the top contenders. But Kendrick’s impact extends well beyond the rap world. With his technical ability, insightful lyrics, and distinct instrumentation, he’s putting out rap of a caliber and complexity the likes of which has rarely been heard before. He’s forced people once dismissive of rap to re-evaluate the entire genre, including, apparently, the Pulitzer Prize Board.




#4: DAMN. is the Culmination of his Work Thus Far




When you look at the discography of even the most iconic musicians, you’re sure to come across a lackluster release or two. Since making waves with the often overlooked digital release “Overly Dedicated”, Lamar has put out one solid album or mixtape after another. Though his dynamic flow and lyrical content helps to create a sense of continuity between them, every album has seen the Compton rapper boldly pushing the boundaries of his own artistic identity. His discography traces his evolution as not just a rapper - but an artist that has consistently excelled at every new stage. “DAMN.” is both the culmination of everything that he’s done so far, and the proof that he’s still growing.







#3: It's Timely And Challenging in the Best Possible Way




People around the world have been connecting with Kendrick’s thoughtful lyrics since the release of “Section.80” in 2011. However, with “DAMN.”, Kendrick managed to reach an unprecedented number of listeners, and did so (remarkably), without softening his sound or his lyrics. If anything, “DAMN.” is Kendrick at his most assertive, abrasive and unapologetic. And rather than scare away the masses, it blew away both music listeners and critics alike. It got the whole world talking. He speaks truths across a wide range of subjects, from African American identity and our divided world, to more deeply personal reflections on life, death and legacy. Lamar sugarcoats nothing, and leaves the listener lost in sober reflection.





#2: Its Complexity Makes It Stand Out From Other Popular Music




There’s a science to writing popular music. Craft an undeniable hook. Keep it easily digestible. Set up expectations, and then deliver on them. On “DAMN.” Kendrick does almost none of the above. In his trademark style he frequently switches up his flow, keeping the listener on their toes. Stylistically, the music differs from one track to another, sometimes wildly. Instrumentally, this album is dense and endlessly creative, with the greatest instrument of all, Kendrick’s vocals, engaging and challenging the listener from start to finish. As Pulitzer Prize host Dana Canedy put it “the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.” Translation: considering the musical artistry of this album, the Pulitzer couldn’t have gone to anyone else .






#1: It's a Remarkable Exploration of the African American Experience




As the Pulitzer Prize Board put it when explaining their choice, “DAMN.” 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." Kendrick Lamar is arguably blessed with the greatest and most interesting flow in modern rap, but his lyrics are what truly set him apart. He’s not just witty and insightful, he’s a musical storyteller, crafting complex and moving narratives that get to the very heart of his upbringing in Compton and the experience of African Americans living in the 21st century. “DAMN.” is a great album, but it’s also an essential piece of contemporary musical journalism.

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