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From street kid to Pulitzer: why Kendrick Lamar deserves the prize

Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian, 22 April 2018

The clarity, complexity and honesty of his lyrics alone merit the highest award for the hip-hop star and "greatest rapper alive".

The first Pulitzer prize for music went, in 1943, to William Schuman's Secular Cantata No 2. It took 54 years before the judges recognised music beyond the European classical tradition, making Wynton Marsalis's Blood on the Fields the first jazz winner. There have only been two jazz winners since then (Ornette Coleman in 2007 and Henry Threadgill in 2016) and, until this year, nothing from the world of popular song. The prize has long been criticised as stuffy and irrelevant, with even 2003 winner John Adams saying it has "lost much of the prestige it still carries in other fields like literature and journalism".

Total word count of piece: 1250


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