Kendrick Lamar deserves the Pulitzer Prize for music because his work is fantastic and powerfully laden with sharp social commentary, suggests Chris Richards of The Washington Post. Rap as a genre has long been under-appreciated for the way it captures the culture, history and current plight of black people in the US. It’s a distinctly American art form that reflects on multiple levels of society. Lamar himself is a true genius, combining rapid, strong rap skills with incredibly apt awareness of what is happening in this country. This reflects the highly overdue recent surge in appreciation for black music and black artists.
Kendrick Lamar did not deserve to win a Pulitzer for music, argues Brian Beacom of The Sunday Herald. The award that has generally been reserved for high art forms like opera, should not be given out for rap, which falls on a different musical level. While Lamar’s quality does show, his work is trendy and full of social commentary, so its window of relevancy is much smaller because of this. The Pulitzer judges were too concerned with appearing progressive and embracing the music of tomorrow when making this choice. The suggestion that rap is now more worthy of winning it than opera opens a highly subjective debate.