Kendrick Lamar Shakes Up the Pulitzer Game: Let’s Discuss – The New York Times

But there is besides wariness, which I join, about an opening of the respect — not to hip-hop, per southeast, but to music that has achieved blockbuster commercial success. This is nowadays officially one fewer guaranteed platform — which, yes, should be afford to many genres — for noncommercial employment, which scrapes by on grants, fellowships, commissions and, yes, awards. image

“ DAMN. ” was the consentaneous choice of the Pulitzer music jury.


[ Never miss a popular music narrative : Sign up for our hebdomadally newsletter, Louder. ] PARELES That reception is like to many publishing-world reactions when Bob Dylan got the Nobel Prize in Literature — that a promotional opportunity was being lost for something worthy but more obscure, preferably between hard covers. A literary name who had changed the way an entire generation looked at words and ideas was supposed to forgo the award because, well, he ’ five hundred reached besides many people ? Do we truly want to put a sales ceiling on what should get an award ? The New York Times and The New Yorker already have a lot of subscribers … uh-oh.

WOOLFE I don ’ metric ton think there is a universal desire for the Nobel to reward obscurity ; I ’ megabyte sure many who were disbelieving of Mr. Dylan ’ second winnings would have been equitable fine with the best-selling Philip Roth. But it has felt for decades like an integral contribution of the Pulitzer ’ s mission is to shine a light on corners of music that are otherwise closely ignored by the broader polish. The prize has acted as a admonisher — though hanker a means besides stylistically restrict one — that artmaking exists beyond the Billboard ( and immediately Spotify ) charts. “ DAMN. ” is surely deserve, yet its victory feels like another sign of the world, and consequently the musical culture, we live in — embodied by the stream services, through which the biggest artists and albums get more and more, and everyone else gets a smaller while of the proto-indo european. This system is caustic to music, period — classical, sleep together, hip-hop, everything. It ’ s the reality — and there are surely a bunch of very popular artists who are identical meaningful, Mr. Lamar among them — but I don ’ t like every aspect of it. PARELES I wholly agree with you about the insalubrious overall effects of winner-take-all culture. The son “ trending ” makes me instinctively recoil ; as critics, you and I both want to direct people beyond popularity charts. But choosing “ DAMN. ” wasn ’ t a capitulation to mere popularity. The album is a building complex, varied, insidious, amply multilayered exploit, overflowing with ideas and by no means immediately ingratiating. You have to give it genuine attention and thinking to get the most out of it, just as with any other Pulitzer-winning typography .

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