2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

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Modernistfan
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2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:55 pm

Unfortunately, this is not an April Fools joke. The 2018 Pulitzer Prize for music has gone to rapper Kendrick Lamar for his album "Damn." How in the world could the Pulitzer Prize jury have honored such garbage? Prominent African-American composers of real music such as William Grant Still and the recently deceased Olly Wilson must be spinning in their graves.
It seems that the dumbing down of American culture is complete when such commercialized trash is worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:45 pm

New York Times
Dissonant Thoughts On the Music Pulitzers
by Anne Midgette
April 9, 2003


The Pulitzer Prize is known as one of the greatest honors of American journalism, arts and letters. But not of American music.

Not, at least, in the opinion of the composer John Adams, who won the 2003 Pulitzer in music for his piece ''On the Transmigration of Souls,'' a New York Philharmonic commission to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks.

''I am astonished to receive the Pulitzer Prize,'' Mr. Adams said in an e-mail message from his home in California after the award was announced on Monday afternoon. ''Among musicians that I know, the Pulitzer has over the years lost much of the prestige it still carries in other fields like literature and journalism.

''Anyone perusing the list of past winners cannot help noticing that many if not most of the country's greatest musical minds are conspicuously missing,'' he continued. ''Be they mavericks'' like John Cage, Morton Feldman, Harry Partch or Conlon Nancarrow; ''or be they composer-performers'' like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley, ''Monk (Meredith or Thelonious) or Laurie Anderson, or especially be they our great jazz composers . . . most if not all of these genuinely creative spirits have been passed over year after year, often in favor of academy composers who have won a disproportionate number of prizes.''

Mr. Adams is not alone in his view that there is a certain arbitrary quality to the prize, awarded since 1943 for ''distinguished musical composition of significant dimension by an American that had its first performance in the United States during the year.'' While in its early days it was given for major works by major composers -- like Aaron Copland's ''Appalachian Spring'' (1945) -- recent years have seen the people Mr. Adams mentioned overlooked in favor of less-known artists like Wayne Peterson and Roger Reynolds.

''The Pulitzer was originally intended to be for a work that is going to last, to mean something to the world,'' John Corigliano, who won the prize in 2001, said in a telephone interview. ''It changed into another kind of award completely: by composers for composers. It got lost in a repeating record of the same people year after year'' on the jury.

Even when major composers have won, it has not always been for their best work, and Mr. Adams himself is a case in point. He may be America's leading composer at the moment, played regularly by major orchestras, writing a piece for the San Francisco Opera, the focus of a Lincoln Center festival (through May), about to take over as composer in residence at Carnegie Hall in September.

But ''On the Transmigration of Souls,'' while worthy, seems less seminal in his oeuvre than the opera ''Nixon in China,'' orchestral works like ''Harmonielehre'' or the oratorio ''El Nino.''

''In a country as profoundly musical as ours, it is regrettable that the Pulitzer Prize, our most 'visible' cultural honor, should be so limited in its stylistic bandwidth,'' Mr. Adams wrote. ''But perhaps that is beginning to change.''

He added that any honor accruing to his prize should really go to the New York Philharmonic for commissioning the piece and to the families of the victims of Sept. 11.

Mr. Corigliano also sees Mr. Adams's prize as a sign that things are changing. ''He wouldn't have had a chance 10 years ago,'' he said, after saying much the same thing about himself.

Which means that composers, too, may have to start changing their negative view of the Pulitzers.

''When I won the prize,'' Mr. Corigliano said, ''I had already worked myself into a rage that morning, because I knew it was Pulitzer day, and I knew they weren't going to give it to me. When I got the call, I said: 'What am I going to do? I'm so furious!' ''

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:49 pm

The Village Voice
The Academy’s Pulitzer
by Gary Giddins
Aprill 29, 2003


On April 9, the Times ran a surprising story by Anne Midgette, “Dissonant Thoughts on the Music Pulitzers,” in which John Adams, who had received the award for On the Transmigration of Souls, expressed astonishment at winning, and ambivalence bordering on contempt. The prize, he said, has “lost much of the prestige it still carries in other fields,” because “most of the country’s greatest musical minds” are ignored, “often in favor of academy composers.” He singled out the Pulitzer’s neglect of mavericks, composer-performers, and “especially” the “great jazz composers.” His point was not surprising; that a recipient made it was. He had said aloud what countless American composers grumble privately every year, most of them shy of going public and courting accusations of sour grapes.

In 1967, when Edward Albee won a makeup Pulitzer for A Delicate Balance, he said that friends urged him to refuse it; in 1963, the drama jury had chosen to present no award rather than acknowledge Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. In effect, Albee argued that his dissent would have more meaning as a winner. As he went on to win more Pulitzers, if he contested them at all, he kept it quiet. Adams took a nervy stand, opening himself to allegations of biting the hand that massaged him. Not many winners have publicly questioned the process since Sinclair Lewis spurned the prize in 1926 (as well he should, Arrowsmith having beaten The Great Gatsby, though that wasn’t his reason). And Adams loosened other lips. John Corigliano, the 2001 winner, told Midgette, “The Pulitzer was originally intended to be for a work that is going to last, to mean something to the world. It changed into another kind of award completely: by composers for composers”—mired, he added, in a pool of rotating jurors.

The Pulitzer Prizes, launched with a fourth of Joseph Pulitzer’s $2 million bequest to create the Columbia University School of Journalism, began presenting laurels in journalism and literature in 1917. The music prize was instituted in 1943, the year of Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige; the prize, however, went to William Schuman’s A Free Song, a respectable choice by an important composer who was already a magnet for prizes. In the jazz world, the Pulitzer is shrugged off as just another establishment club (from the Grammys to the Kennedy Center Honors) that routinely ignores composers working in the idiom that most consistently and articulately proclaims “America” to the rest of the world. Yet many civilians are amazed to learn that in its 60 years, the Pulitzer has never acknowledged a single figure in popular music and only once gave the nod to a jazz work—Wynton Marsalis’s Blood on the Fields, in 1997. Gunther Schuller and Mel Powell have also won, but for pieces entirely unconnected to their jazz work.

The most celebrated pas de deux between the Pulitzers and jazz occurred in 1965, when the jury unanimously voted to override the standard rule of honoring a single work premiered the previous year, in order to hail Duke Ellington for his lifetime achievement. The jury, to its dismay, was overruled by the advisory board, which chose to present no award that year. A Pulitzer spokesman later argued that the single-work rule could not be broken; but if they had wanted to make things right at the time, they could have given it to Ellington the next year for the premiere of his masterpiece, Far East Suite—or for several subsequent suites debuted before his death in 1974.

Yet had the advisory board acknowledged any of those works, it would have done little more than apply a Band-Aid to a triple bypass. The real problem went to the heart of Pulitzer politics: It was the rule itself. The jury that desired to honor Ellington understood something about indigenous American music—it is different; it plays a different game. The board would look foolish giving it to one new song by Bob Dylan or one typical concert by Sonny Rollins. The congregate achievement is almost always what counts. Lester Young was a great composer not because of his riff tunes, but because he created a new and inspired canvas in American music; as instantly recognizable as an Aaron Copland ballet, Young’s canvas was as amorphous as Leaves of Grass, his every improvisation another leaf, some greener than others, all part of one visionary achievement. It is easy to retrospectively find jazz compositions that ought to have been recognized within the constraints of the Pulitzer rulebook, but to say that A Love Supreme is eligible, and not the composer’s lifework, is to force jazz to conform to the very 19th-century Eurocentric model it supplanted. Similarly, Irving Berlin or Woody Guthrie’s songbooks are not only more popular than Pulitzer compositions, they also come far closer to answering Corigliano’s call for “work that is going to last, to mean something to the world.”

The Pulitzer is not averse to Band-Aids. It has a separate category called Special Awards and Citations, which has, in 73 years of occasional prize-giving, acknowledged three pop or jazz figures: Scott Joplin in 1976 (59 years after his death), George Gershwin in 1998 (61 years after his death), and Duke Ellington in 1999 (25 years after his death). The Ellington presentation was made “in recognition of his musical genius, which evoked aesthetically the principles of democracy through the medium of jazz and thus made an indelible contribution to art and culture.” In short, it was a lifetime achievement award. And that’s the right idea. The trick is to present the award while the recipient is breathing, and in the Music category proper, not in a remedial “duh” division. Ironically, on the one occasion when the board approved a jazz award, the jury played a shell game with its chief edict, recognizing a 1997 “premiere” at Yale University, although the work had been recorded in 1995.

Adams, in listing a few non-winners for the Times, mentioned John Cage, Morton Feldman, Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Thelonious Monk, and Laurie Anderson, as well as the general category of “great jazz composers.” He would like to impose a more radical sensibility on a historically conservative institution. (Consider fiction: Laughing Boy beat The Sound and the Fury and A Farewell to Arms; Years of Grace beat As I Lay Dying, The Maltese Falcon, and Flowering Judas; Now in November beat Tender Is the Night and Appointment in Samarra; and the board could find no worthy fiction at all in the years For Whom the Bell Tolls, Native Son, The Hamlet, The Adventures of Augie March, V, Idiots First, Losing Battles, and Gravity’s Rainbow were eligible.) But the issue as it regards jazz is no longer about radical or conservative views of culture; the influence, constancy, and genius of American music is denied nowhere—and none of it is represented in the Pulitzer rolls.

Does it matter? Of course it does. Owing to its long history and the press’s psychic investment in the journalistic (and primary) wing of its prize-giving, the Pulitzer has a visibility and cachet beyond other cultural awards. The Times doesn’t phone recipients of National Book Awards or American Music Center Letters of Distinction for human-interest reports on how they felt when they heard their names called. The Pulitzer, like it or not, is America’s big award, a kind of sanctioning. Only rank stubbornness can rationalize prolonging a slight that should have been rectified decades ago.

A couple of weeks after the Pulitzers were handed out, the AMC awarded its Letters of Distinction to George Crumb, the Voice‘s Kyle Gann (a distinguished composer as well as a critic), Steve Reich, Wayne Shorter, and the late music publisher Ronald Freed. Shorter is the ringer in this group, but not among previous AMC recipients, who include—in addition to most of Adams’s mavericks and many who’ve won Pulitzers—Randy Weston, Max Roach, Modern Jazz Quartet, Dizzy Gillespie (posthumously), Muhal Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, and Ornette Coleman. All but Gillespie and most of the MJQ are living, and it’s hard to imagine anyone questioning the appropriateness of awarding any of them Pulitzers. There are others deserving of consideration, including Rollins, Dylan, Benny Carter, George Russell, B.B. King, Lee Konitz, Henry Threadgill, Abbey Lincoln, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Andrew Hill, Jim Hall, Chuck Berry, Roy Haynes, Pete Seeger, James Brown, and David Murray.

Should the Pulitzer board decide to rejigger its rule book or expand its grasp, it would have to overcome the embarrassment of an awfully interesting mea culpa, something on the order of “The Pulitzer Prize in Music has decided to accept the reality of American music and will no longer dismiss out of hand all composers who swing or sanction improvisation.” But the real difficulty would be administrative. The divides among jazz and pop and the academy remain so vast that in selecting its jurors in any given year, the committee will have virtually decided which area to favor; word would have to be leaked that the barriers have come down, because few non-academics submit nominations. Put a couple of jazz people on the jury and the dice are loaded for jazz. Still, better to switch loaded dice from one year to the next than to use—as is now the case—the same pair every year.

Modernistfan
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:57 pm

The awarding of the Pulitzer to Kendrick Lamar, in fact, is the flip side of American racism--the side that holds African-Americans to lower standards. I would have loved, for example, to see Anthony Braxton get the award.
That being said, however, I agree with the above posters that the Pulitzer is iffy and often does not honor a creator's best work; the neglect of significant jazz creators is also deplorable.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:25 pm

I think rap is the most significant development in popular music in the past 30 years. In any event, I wouldn't tag it, ephemeral or not, as substandard garbage or dumbed-down trash. Whether Lamar's album deserves a Pulitzer is another matter. I have heard it and it struck me as being pretty tame as rap goes. More impressive to me was his film score for Black Panther.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:06 pm

After the Nobel Prize for Literature went to Bob Dylan, maybe the Pulitzer judges thought it would be trendy to do likewise for music.
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Modernistfan
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:08 pm

Sorry, I still can't accept this. Does this work have any lasting value? I doubt it (and yes, much "non-classical" music does have such lasting value--think of Duke Ellington, just to name one such creator of such music). That should be the criterion, regardless of the purported "genre" of the work (Anthony Braxton, who I mentioned earlier, insists that he is not a jazz musician, even though he has frequently performed and recorded what are generally considered to be jazz standards.)

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:25 pm

Well, I too am and have long been a fan of Anthony Braxton's music. I wasn't aware that he has a 2017 album or composition that could be so awarded. As for Ellington, I believe he never got this music award: a shameful but explicable oversight.

How ephemeral DAMN turns out to be, it's probably too early to tell. I have no dog in that fight.

Bob Dylan, in contrast to Kendrick Lamar, had a lifetime of poetic achievement and richly deserved his Nobel Prize.

Even so, a rearguard cultural skirmish labeling Lamar's music as garbage seems a fruitless enterprise to me. Like it or not, and I like it, rap has revolutionized pop music.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:28 am

Modernistfan wrote:Does this work have any lasting value? ... That should be the criterion.
That isn't and can't be the criterion for the Pulitzer Prize for Music or any other annual award. The judges can't be expected to foresee which of the year's new compositions will prove to have had "lasting value," however that may be measured.

The stated criterion: "For a distinguished musical composition of significant dimension by an American that has had its first performance in the United States during the year." The winner need not be the best music premiered that year, or the most popular, or any other comparative measure, only that it be "distinguished." I don't see how any rap could ever be called "distinguished," nor how a work that apparently has not been publicly performed, only recorded, can be said to have been "premiered." This is not the first time the Pulitzer judges have ignored that requirement.

The citation reads, "Recording released on April 14, 2017, a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life." Well...
John Francis

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:53 am

John F wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:28 am
Modernistfan wrote:Does this work have any lasting value? ... That should be the criterion.
That isn't and can't be the criterion for the Pulitzer Prize for Music or any other annual award. The judges can't be expected to foresee which of the year's new compositions will prove to have had "lasting value," however that may be measured.
I agree.
John F wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:28 am
I don't see how any rap could ever be called "distinguished," nor how a work that apparently has not been publicly performed, only recorded, can be said to have been "premiered." This is not the first time the Pulitzer judges have ignored that requirement.
It wasn't the first time because the Pulitzer rules were amended some time ago to classify recorded music as performed music, so I think the requirements were being strictly adhered to.

Moreover, dismissing an entire genre of music as undistinguished, and thus outside the purview of the Pulitzer judges, would be problematic in my view. Each musical work should be judged on its own merits. If the judges were bent on opening up works of pop music for consideration, then how could they credibly disqualify rap beforehand?

Last nite on the PBS News Hour, anchor Judy Woodruff and arts-and-literature reporter Jeffrey Brown expressed varying degrees of admiration for this Kendrick Lamar work. I guess that means I am going to have to listen to this album once again, this time more carefully. Maybe I missed something first time around.

Has anybody here actually heard this work so resoundingly DAMN.ed out-of-hand as not distinguished? If not, why should we hold this Truth to be self-evident?

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by IcedNote » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:51 am

Modernistfan wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:08 pm
Does this work have any lasting value? I doubt it
People are going to be playing Kendrick's music for a long, long time. Sorry that they're not your people. :roll:

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:23 am

jserraglio wrote:the Pulitzer rules were amended some time ago to classify recorded music as performed music
Right - the Pulitzer site now says, "For distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year." Even that is apparently flexible. Ornette Coleman's "Sound Grammar," which won in 2007, was recorded in Ludwigshafen (not the US) in 2005. It was released in the US in 2006.
jserraglio wrote:dismissing an entire genre of music as undistinguished, and thus outside the purview of the Pulitzer judges, would be problematic in my view.
Unless rap has changed radically in the last few years - I wouldn't know, I avoid the stuff - it hardly counts as music, it's all about the words delivered over a monotonous, unchanging beat. Far from being distinguished, the "music" of rap numbers is indistinguishable, if indeed it's music at all.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:14 pm

IcedNote wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:51 am
Modernistfan wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:08 pm
Does this work have any lasting value? I doubt it
People are going to be playing Kendrick's music for a long, long time. Sorry that they're not your people. :roll:

-G
Point taken!

I don't follow rap music, but I think that the art form deserves respect just as some of the popular music of my own generation from the 1960's and '70's had such great lyrics and inventiveness. If Bob Dylan deserved a Nobel (and I believe he did), then Kendrick deserves recognition as well.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:32 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:23 am
it [rap] hardly counts as music, it's all about the words delivered over a monotonous, unchanging beat. Far from being distinguished, the "music" of rap numbers is indistinguishable, if indeed it's music at all.
I wouldn't say that describes Lamar's DAMN. This work extends the conventions of rap into unfamiliar areas, but it did strike me as being way more lyrical than what I typically associate with the genre. Maybe that's why I heard it as tame first time around: it violated my expectations. I liked it much better on a second hearing. I haven't made up my mind yet whether it deserves a Pulitzer but it definitely is musical.

Putting down Lamar's work as not distinguished, or not music, or not distinguishable from others of its genre without even hearing it is problematic, in my view, inviting comparison to the folks currently denigrating James Comey's new book as partisan hackwork before they've bothered to read it.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by IcedNote » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:07 pm

My buddy said it well elsewhere:
New Music People: This modernist piece sounds like noise to you because you need to educate yourself in the specific vocabulary of this type of music.

Also New Music People: I don't really listen to hip hop, but I listened to Kendrick Lamar and I'm not hearing anything musically interesting.
-G
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:57 pm

New York Times — The Pulitzer Prizes startled a lot of people this year with an award that’s usually greeted as an afterthought: the music prize, which went to Kendrick Lamar’s album “DAMN.” It was not only the first time a music Pulitzer was given to a hip-hop album, but also to any work outside the more rarefied precincts of classical and, occasionally, jazz composition — indeed, to an album that reached No. 1 on the pop chart. And while it has been reported that “DAMN.” was the unanimous choice of the Pulitzer music jury, the award was met in other quarters with disgruntlement and even outrage. Here, Zachary Woolfe, the classical music editor of The New York Times, and Jon Pareles, the chief pop music critic, discuss the choice.

JON PARELES To me, this prize is as overdue as it was unexpected. When I look at the Pulitzers across the board, what I overwhelmingly see rewarded are journalistic virtues: fact-gathering, vivid detail, storytelling, topicality, verbal dexterity and, often, real-world impact after publication. It’s an award for hard-won persuasiveness. Well hello, hip-hop.
ZACHARY WOOLFE One comment I read on Facebook, from a gifted young composer and pianist, was “I have complicated feelings about this, but also, I mean, about damn time.” Yes, and yes. There seems to be broad agreement, which I join, about the quality of “DAMN.” — its complexity and sensitivity, its seductive confidence and unity, its dense weaving of the personal and political, the religious and sexual.
But there is also wariness, which I join, about an opening of the prize — not to hip-hop, per se, but to music that has achieved blockbuster commercial success. This is now officially one fewer guaranteed platform — which, yes, should be open to many genres — for noncommercial work, which scrapes by on grants, fellowships, commissions and, yes, awards.
PARELES That response is similar 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 figure who had changed the way an entire generation looked at words and ideas was supposed to forgo the award because, well, he’d reached too many people? Do we really 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’t think there is a universal desire for the Nobel to reward obscurity; I’m sure many who were skeptical of Mr. Dylan’s win would have been just fine with the best-selling Philip Roth. But it has felt for decades like an integral part of the Pulitzer’s mission is to shine a light on corners of music that are otherwise nearly ignored by the broader culture. The award has acted as a reminder — though long a way too stylistically limited one — that artmaking exists beyond the Billboard (and now Spotify) charts.
“DAMN.” is surely deserving, yet its victory feels like another sign of the world, and therefore the musical culture, we live in — embodied by the streaming services, through which the biggest artists and albums get more and more, and everyone else gets a smaller piece of the pie. This system is corrosive to music, period — classical, jazz, hip-hop, everything. It’s the reality — and there are certainly a lot of very popular artists who are very meaningful, Mr. Lamar among them — but I don’t like every aspect of it.
PARELES I completely agree with you about the unhealthy overall effects of winner-take-all culture. The word “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 complex, varied, subtle, richly multilayered work, overflowing with ideas and by no means immediately ingratiating. You have to give it genuine attention and thought to get the most out of it, just as with any other Pulitzer-winning composition.
Meanwhile, wasn’t the music Pulitzer, for many decades, largely the captive of a small, insular academic music scene? The Pulitzers refused a special citation for Duke Ellington, who never won the award. They ignored jazz — artistically subtle and sublime, commercially endangered — until Wynton Marsalis finally got a Pulitzer in 1997. They were unconscionably late — looking awfully cliquish to me — even in recognizing Minimalism: Steve Reich got his Pulitzer in 2009, not in 1977 for “Music for 18 Musicians.”
To me, it looks like some of the squawks are complaints about exclusivity being breached. And if you ask me, it should have happened sooner. I hereby nominate, for a retrospective Pulitzer, Public Enemy’s 1988 album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”: an experimental sonic bombshell, a verbal torrent, a mind expander. For that matter, the Pulitzers were late on Kendrick Lamar, too: “To Pimp a Butterfly,” from 2015, has even more musical breadth than “DAMN.” (which has plenty).
WOOLFE There have been so many missed opportunities. The year after it turned down Ellington — the main Pulitzer board rejected the music jury’s recommendation — it could have given the regular prize to Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” How about Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” which could have won in 1972 — over a decade before the prize finally got around to recognizing a female composer? Philip Glass, never quite beloved in the academic realm, remains Pulitzer-less. And I’ll just leave this right here: Kanye.
You could play these fantasy games forever. It is belated and necessary that the award widen to encompass a fuller picture of what music is. But if that widening further marginalizes noncommercial work — which doesn’t view itself as exclusive but simply as endangered in an economic system that conspires against it — something important will be lost. Responsible eclecticism is what I’d want going forward from Pulitzer juries, for whom the “DAMN.” award will hopefully be freeing in the best sense.
PARELES What were the pieces from the other two finalists, Ted Hearne and Michael Gilbertson?
WOOLFE Like Mr. Lamar, who’s 30, these guys are strikingly young. Mr. Gilbertson, 30 as well, wrote a string quartet that veers from glassy to robust, and Mr. Hearne, 35, wrote “Sound From the Bench,” a cantata for chamber choir, electric guitars and drums. Like Mr. Lamar’s album, the finalists are politically charged: Mr. Hearne, always socially conscious, here mashes up texts from Supreme Court decisions to suggest the ambiguities of identity and humanity. (A corporation has speech, you say?) And Mr. Gilbertson has said that he adjusted his initial sketches for his quartet after the 2016 election, making them “more introspective and comforting.” Almost as significant as Mr. Lamar’s win, for me, is the trio taken together: a new generation, turning the world around it into music.
PARELES I’ll have to put them in a playlist. I’m not suggesting that the Pulitzers mirror the Top 10 or the Grammys. (Please, no.) And next year, sure, give the prize to an album that sold 11 copies after a lone college gig somewhere. But I think we’re seeing a shifting perspective on the way contemporary classical and jazz composition often draw on the ideas of hip-hop or world music or pop, as if to elevate them by carrying them into the concert hall.
According to the Pulitzer reporting, “DAMN.” got added to consideration when the jury was looking into a composition with hip-hop influences, and decided to go to the source — where the ideas, in this case, are even stronger, both rawer and smarter. The prize citation praises “DAMN.” for its “vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism,” which to me has a whiff of condescension — there’s all sorts of brainpower and artifice in there, too — but let’s enjoy the win. Regarding noncommercial outreach, Mr. Lamar often collaborates with first-rate, innovative jazz musicians, like Kamasi Washington, who not only are happy to work with him but also benefit — in their own audience growth — from showing up in his album credits.
One thing that also strikes me about giving the award to “DAMN.” is that it quietly sets aside two previous Pulitzer givens: that the winning piece was performed by live musicians in real time and that it was written by a solitary composer. But “DAMN.” has multiple producers, composers and performers (even Rihanna and U2 cameos!) layering tracks in studios. Mr. Lamar is the auteur, fully in charge but not the sole creator. It’s another way of making music that deserves respect.
WOOLFE This year’s Pulitzer actually reinforced that old Romantic illusion of the singular composer. It was given to Mr. Lamar alone — not, as in the Grammys, to the album’s songwriting or producing teams, too.
PARELES Maybe they should change the citation to “Kendrick Lamar and staff” — like the reporting prizes. To me, both the Dylan Nobel and the Lamar Pulitzer — which is not the first hip-hop Pulitzer; Lin-Manuel Miranda got that for drama with “Hamilton” — are signals that the old prize-giving institutions are rethinking the ways in which they used to circumscribe the idea of quality. As long as they’re conscientious, that can make the awards only more significant.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:47 am

Note that she concludes, "I think this is a huge moment for the music industry." Not that it's a huge moment for music.

Pulitzer Prize Administrator Explains How Kendrick Lamar Won
4/16/2018
by Joe Lynch

On Monday (April 16), the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded Kendrick Lamar the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2017 masterpiece DAMN. Not only is this a first for hip-hop, but it's a first for popular music in general – DAMN. is the first non-classical, non-jazz album to win the award in its 75-year history.

After the announcement, Billboard got on the phone with recently elected Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy, herself a winner of the Pulitzer and former senior editor at The New York Times, to learn how K.Dot nabbed the prestigious award.

> This is the first non-classical, non-jazz album to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music in its 75-year history. You just took over as administrator last year – do you think you had some impact on this?

I cannot take credit. We have an amazing system that worked as it should this year. The jury made the recommendation to the board, I am on the board, and then the board considered the jury recommendation, and unanimously voted in favor of this. We're very excited. The system worked the way it should in that a really spectacular work was celebrated today in the music category.

> DAMN. was hailed as a masterpiece by many, but really he's been knocking out classics for a minute. Why now?

I think we could say that in any category, particularly one like music, where people have been around a while. This just seems like the right moment; the work was on the jury's radar and it proceeded from there.

> Was the debate intense?

Oh absolutely, always, in any category. You'd be amazed if you watched these juries at work; they take seriously every bit of work they consider. In this case, I don't know specifically what the piece was, but in this case they were considering a piece of music they felt had hip-hop influences and said, "Well if we're considering a piece of music that has hip-hop influences, why aren't we considering hip-hop?" And someone said, "That's exactly what we should do." And then someone said, "We should be considering Kendrick Lamar" and the group said "absolutely." So then, right then, they decided to listen to the entire album and decided "This is it."

> That makes it sound a little impromptu, almost.

Absolutely not. The jury for example, is comprised of distinguished composers, musicians, music critics and scholars of music, so they know what they're doing.

> You're a winner – what's the process like, do you know when you're being considered?

It depends on the newsroom or the publication. He had no idea he was being considered so this is a complete surprise. I was actually worried he would think it was a hoax, but it's not [laughs]. I don't even know if he knows yet.

> Why do you think it's taken so long for a more quote-unquote popular album to get this award? It's probably the first album to top the Billboard 200 to get this award.

Sure it is. I don't really know why, I'm just glad it is happening now. The important thing about this is the jury and the board just decided that the album is a word of vernacular avant-garde. It's a dense and sophisticated collage of hybrid sounds, polyrhythms, layered under what we would probably consider pulsing kinetic text. The brilliance of the music is what's shone through.

> Were you involved in the voting?

I don't vote. I oversee the process from choosing jurors to advising the boards to qualifying the applicants.

> Since taking over, did you select a different pool of jurors?

Arts and Letters, which includes the music jurors, were already in place when I took over in July, so the next round will be my first time choosing those jurors. I chose the journalism jurors. It's going to continue to evolve and it should. The influence I had this year was on the journalism category and it was incredibly diverse in that we had people from news organizations in the Midwest, we had conservative voices, we had ethnic diversity, and that's going to be a driving theme in Arts and Letters and journalism throughout my tenure here.

> With who's in office, do you think that had an effect on this, or was weighing on people's minds?

I can emphatically say absolutely not. That did not influence the way the board voted at all. Each entry is taken on the value of the work. I was in the room for the jury deliberation, I saw that firsthand.

> How long was the deliberation?

The board meets for two days, and we're usually able to wrap up the selection in two days. The juries read and listen to music all through the fall and summer and deliberate after that. The actual board deliberation is two days.

> Anything else you think is important to add?

I think this is a huge moment for the music industry and the Pulitzer Prize, and we're proud of it.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/colu ... -interview
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:05 am

I don't know or care who this Pulitzer helps. That is irrelevant. I only know that it took me two times going thru the record to begin to get all the different voices, rhythms and stylings that Lamar was producing. I was not able to appreciate the work after a single hearing.

We were just asked to notice something in the article printed above. Well, I noticed too that nobody who has damned Damn. here has confessed to having listened to the work, basing their opinion instead on a preconceived notion of what rap music in the abstract has to offer. I think that is akin to a music critic giving a bad review to a performance that he or she never attended.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:18 am

The difference is that reviewers have professional responsibilities for which they are paid, while we have no such responsibilities and may say whatever we please, and I do.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:27 am

John F wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:18 am
The difference is that reviewers have professional responsibilities for which they are paid, while we have no such responsibilities and may say whatever we please, and I do.
And I in turn reacted.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Lance » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:44 am

I don't follow the Pulitzer prizes too closely. So, in reading this thread, and like so many other things in our world, has the Pulitzer turned out to be a joke, at least in some categories?
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:22 pm

Lance wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:44 am
I don't follow the Pulitzer prizes too closely. So, in reading this thread, and like so many other things in our world, has the Pulitzer turned out to be a joke, at least in some categories?
I don't know if the Pulitzers have become a joke, am not even sure if Kendrick Lamar deserves one of them, but if nothing else, they are a starting point. I never would have listened to Damn. or Hamilton. if it hadn't been for the Pulitzers. And likewise, never would I have read Fences nor picked up Half-light: Collected Poems of Frank Bidart. Such prizes are for me more useful than canonical: So too, when a sixteen-year-old kid urges me to see Get Out, I get off my dead ass and go see it. Rather than conclude from the mere fact that a recommendation, a work or an artistic genre runs counter to my expectations or presuppositions that the world is scurrying to hell in a handbag.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Lance » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:49 pm

Eloquent, and beautifully said! Yes, there are always some positives! It's like getting a recommendation from someone to hear a new CD that you might not otherwise acquire and be sufficiently surprised that you kept your mind open about it! Thank you!
jserraglio wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:22 pm
Lance wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:44 am
I don't follow the Pulitzer prizes too closely. So, in reading this thread, and like so many other things in our world, has the Pulitzer turned out to be a joke, at least in some categories?
I don't know if the Pulitzers have become a joke, am not even sure if Kendrick Lamar deserves one of them, but if nothing else, they are a starting point. I never would have listened to Damn. or Hamilton. if it hadn't been for the Pulitzers. And likewise, never would I have read Fences nor picked up Half-light: Collected Poems of Frank Bidart. Such prizes are for me more useful than canonical: so too, when a sixteen-year-old kid urges me to see Get Out, I get off my dead ass and go see it. Not to conclude from the mere fact that a recommendation, a work or an artistic genre runs counter to my expectations or presuppositions that the world is scurrying to hell in a handbag.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:43 am

I was going to sample this, on a whim, until jserraglio gratuitously made it an issue of integrity. That made me disinclined, as my whim wasn't that strong. But being confident of my assessment of rap, and trusting reviews and comments that say "Damn" is essentially rap, I changed my mind again, and now I have listened to the first number in the album and the opening of the second. The words being trivial and not being sung (so much for "music"), and the second number being what for me is standard rap, my curiosity is satisfied and I've had enough. I was right.

I suppose Lamar may owe his Pulitzer partly to the Pulitzer for the Broadway musical "Hamilton," whose score is hip-hop. That too was a first. Whatever, what I heard has no musical merit, and while I can't claim to understand the motives of the Pulitzer judges, I continue to think that they have made a serious mistake. Quality aside, Zachary Woolfe pointed out in a Times piece that "Damn" is a commercial success, which is what the Grammys exist to celebrate, and its success has made Lamar rich, while real classical composers such as the other finalists could use the $15,000 prize money.

Whether the losers deserved it any more than Lamar, I couldn't say. But I do say that the dumbing down of a prestigious award which in the past has gone to Elliott Carter's 2nd and 3rd string quartets and "Appalachian Spring" is shameful and a slap in the face to classical music.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:29 am

a slap in the face to classical music
I don't see today's music Pulitzer jury, beleaguered by revanchists some of whom, as John Adams pointed out in 2003, would like to preserve the award as classical music's fiefdom, in the role of classical music's face-slappers. Even a playful love-tap up the side of classical music's collectivist head might result in unpredictable neural realignment.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by lennygoran » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:15 am

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:22 pm
I don't know if the Pulitzers have become a joke, am not even sure if Kendrick Lamar deserves one of them, but if nothing else, they are a starting point. I never would have listened to Damn. or Hamilton. if it hadn't been for the Pulitzers.
I got into this thread late-never heard of Kendrick Lamar-fortunately there's youtube so I went downstairs and using my roku and headsets I listed to 6 songs from Damn-used the headsets because I didn't want to disturb Sue who was reading in our living room. Listened to Blood, DNA, Yah, Element and Loyalty with Rihanna joining him. I couldn't always get all the words but could get a lot of them-for me they all had a beat that made them sound a little different than some of the hip hop I've heard. When we're in nyc we go into alot of stores where Sue does some window shopping and it seems to me music like that is on-I can tolerate this music but it's not something I'll probably ever get into in a big way. As an aside last week in NYC Sue and I had a desire for a thin crust pizza and a salad in a restaurant that was at least more than just a joint-it was a pleasant eating experience-the music in the background was Bocelli-a little opera but also more popular songs like Volare, etc, etc. Anyway at least I know who Kendrick is now. Regards, Len :lol:

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:20 am


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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by lennygoran » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:24 am

Wow, thanks for this-it helps! Regards, Len

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:28 am

lennygoran wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:24 am
Wow, thanks for this-it helps! Regards, Len
https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/a-track-by ... 31407.html

My wife loves this album. She is reputed to have excellent musical taste. Case closed.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by diegobueno » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:51 am

IcedNote wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:07 pm
My buddy said it well elsewhere:
New Music People: This modernist piece sounds like noise to you because you need to educate yourself in the specific vocabulary of this type of music.

Also New Music People: I don't really listen to hip hop, but I listened to Kendrick Lamar and I'm not hearing anything musically interesting.
-G
It's ironic that New Music People should have their own usual advice to critics fed back to them.

The virtues of Kendrick Lamar's work have not yet revealed themselves to me, but I have accepted that as a challenge to see what aspects of Damn would I be able to incorporate in a composition of my own. Even if it's something minor, like the way the bass drum plays against the established beat rather than reinforcing it.

It could be that someone on the Pulitzer committee discovered nested tuplets in the rhythm track, and that's why they awarded it the prize. :lol:

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:27 am

New Music People: This modernist piece sounds like noise to you because you need to educate yourself in the specific vocabulary of this type of music.
No, I don't need to "educate myself" in the "specific vocabulary" of rap or hip-hop. Which I suppose means indoctrinating myself. I'm not a musical ignoramus, and the vocabulary of what I heard of "DAMN" is very simple musically, no problem understanding it. If there were, I might be more favorably disposed, or at least have some incentive to listen further. By the way, I have the same problem with Philip Glass's music - not enough going on to keep the mind alive. :mrgreen:

By the way, Glass hasn't received a Pulitzer prize despite having composed several operasand quite a few symphonies, and being generally acknowledged as a powerful influence on contemporary American music. Even though I'm not a fan, it's obvious to me that he deserves it. Not so Kendrick Lamar.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:20 pm

Speaking of "specific vocabulary" in another sense . . .

Lamar's music may or may not deserve the Pulitzer prize. I haven't made up my mind. But Lamar's album, as well as rap generally and his Pulitzer prize, has provoked strong negative reactions, the diction and tone of which is somewhat revealing.

So I assembled some of the derogatory words and phrases used in this thread about all three--the work, the rap genre, and the 2018 music Pulitzer award itself:

The Album:
- garbage
- trash
- any lasting value? I doubt it

The Award:
- holds African-Americans to lower standards
- flip side of American racism
- dumbing down of American culture
- slap in the face to classical music
- dumbing down of a prestigious award

Rap:
- not real music, if indeed it is music at all
- hardly counts as music
- far from being distinguished, don't see how any rap could ever be called "distinguished"


Whatever its demerits and even if it didn't deserve a Pulitzer, I think DAMN., along with rap music and the Pulitzer award, deserves better than this.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Belle » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:39 pm

John F wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:27 am
New Music People: This modernist piece sounds like noise to you because you need to educate yourself in the specific vocabulary of this type of music.
No, I don't need to "educate myself" in the "specific vocabulary" of rap or hip-hop. Which I suppose means indoctrinating myself. I'm not a musical ignoramus, and the vocabulary of what I heard of "DAMN" is very simple musically, no problem understanding it. If there were, I might be more favorably disposed, or at least have some incentive to listen further. By the way, I have the same problem with Philip Glass's music - not enough going on to keep the mind alive. :mrgreen:

By the way, Glass hasn't received a Pulitzer prize despite having composed several operasand quite a few symphonies, and being generally acknowledged as a powerful influence on contemporary American music. Even though I'm not a fan, it's obvious to me that he deserves it. Not so Kendrick Lamar.
I agree with all your comments, JohnF.

To the best of my recollection (I wasn't there at the time!) the Gershwins won a Pulitzer Prize for "Of Thee I Sing" in the 1930s - so it's never been exclusively 'classical'. The show was a political satire.

I don't know the rap singer in question and rap doesn't interest me, but the prize committee has decided to make an award to this rap singer (which is their right) and many of us have the right not to take the Prize seriously anymore.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:36 am

"Of Thee I sing" won the Pulitzer prize for drama, not music. Other musicals that have won include "South Pacific," "A Chorus Line," and quite a few others. It's not a very comfortable fit in a category that has also included "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Three Tall Women" (now playing on Broadway with Glenda Jackson), and perhaps the prize is more about theatre than drama, but so be it.

However, the Pulitzer judges have twice awarded the prize to jazz pieces, Wynton Marsalis's "Blood on the Fields" and Ornette Coleman's "Sound Grammar." Though much of jazz isn't actually composed but improvised on the spot, and a jazz "work" has no fixed form unless a sound recording is made of it, I still recognize jazz as a form of art music, some jazz at least. (If anybody cares what I think.) Not so commercial popular music, whatever its pretensions.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:02 am

The Economist
To Pimp a Butterfly

https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2018/04/damn

He [Kendrick Lamar] was the first rapper to get a storied and traditional prize, but it came for his second-best album. Better late than never

Prospero

Apr 20, 2018
by C.M.


ON MONDAY Kendrick Lamar, a 30-year-old rapper from Compton, Los Angeles, won the Pulitzer prize for music. It was an extraordinary moment, and not just because it’s the first time the prize has been awarded to somebody who isn’t a classical or jazz musician. The jury awarded the prize to the wrong album.

“DAMN.”, the winning record, is “virtuosic”, just as the jurors say. Over the spare, stuttering beats of trap, a popular sub-genre of hip hop from the Deep South, Mr Lamar invites us to eavesdrop as he confesses to a host of sins—pride, lust, greed, anger, hypocrisy—as well as his fear of being judged, by his fire-and-brimstone God. Hip hop is still a genre that revels in braggadocio and conspicuous consumption, and Mr Lamar is no different from his peers. He understands temptation. But where some rappers look in the mirror and see playboy-gangsters, Lamar sees a sinner, tormented by his success and by his responsibility to those less fortunate than he is. His great talent is how, with his blazing lines, he makes us feel the heat of hellfire.

“DAMN.”, then, is most certainly virtuosic. The jury, however, also praised it for capturing “the complexity of modern African-American life”. Many of the experiences Lamar recounts will be familiar to those for whom racism and violence are daily realities: there’s the constant fear of being killed by a gang member or by the police, “‘cause that’s what you do when you’re 17”, and the desire for retribution that accompanies the news that a loved one has been murdered. Yet “DAMN.” is not an album about the complexity of modern African-American life so much as it is about the complexity of Mr Lamar’s inner life. The album cover is a portrait of a doleful Lamar, his head bent down, seemingly under the weight of his existential burden. On this album he turns inward, to consider the state of his soul.

But on his previous record, “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015), his focus was wider. On the cover of that album, Lamar can hardly be made out among a crowd of young black men, who pose triumphantly in front of the White House. The record itself is similarly thronged with a varied cast of characters from the drama of African and black American history, from Kunta Kinte, a fictional 18th-century slave from Alex Haley’s novel “Roots”, to Nelson Mandela. As Tupac, a rapper, tells Lamar in an imaginary conversation, “We ain’t even really rappin', we just letting our dead homies tell stories for us.” These stories are about the daily terror of living under racism and the daily fight to counter it, even as veterans of the struggle burn out and give up. Channelling the history of black music with bursts of jazz, funk and soul (George Clinton and Ronald Isley contribute vocals), it helped to reinvigorate a black consciousness that had lain almost dormant in hip hop for years.

Though “DAMN.” was the best-selling album of 2017, none of its tracks has become emblematic of black consciousness, as “Alright”, a single off “Butterfly”, has. An ode to black resilience in the face not just of institutionally racist police forces but also crippling self-doubt, it would become an anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement. That “Butterfly” resounded in such a way is proof of how honestly it captured what it means to be black in America today.

The Pulitzer prize for music rarely makes such a splash. It has already been argued that the medal, which has almost always gone to musicians working outside of the mainstream, needed Lamar’s victory more than he did. It’s just a shame that the board didn’t make their bid for relevance two years earlier, when the more deserving album could have been honoured.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Belle » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:14 am

John F wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:36 am
"Of Thee I sing" won the Pulitzer prize for drama, not music. Other musicals that have won include "South Pacific," "A Chorus Line," and quite a few others. It's not a very comfortable fit in a category that has also included "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Three Tall Women" (now playing on Broadway with Glenda Jackson), and perhaps the prize is more about theatre than drama, but so be it.

However, the Pulitzer judges have twice awarded the prize to jazz pieces, Wynton Marsalis's "Blood on the Fields" and Ornette Coleman's "Sound Grammar." Though much of jazz isn't actually composed but improvised on the spot, and a jazz "work" has no fixed form unless a sound recording is made of it, I still recognize jazz as a form of art music, some jazz at least. (If anybody cares what I think.) Not so commercial popular music, whatever its pretensions.
Ok, for 'drama' (?) and not music - in the musical theatre. I think Winton Marsalis is a fabulous musician - one of the very best. I remember seeing him at the Adelaide Festival in 1988 and was absolutely staggered by his playing and musicianship. It is most definitely a form of art music. I always think of jazz as the musicians' music, if you get my meaning.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Belle » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:18 pm

Here's another perspective on the Lamar Pulitzer Prize, this time from "Spiked Online".

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/ar ... t1QPciFOUk

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:57 am

What Slater is saying, in effect, is that commercial pop music shouldn't be judged by the same standards as classical music, which in effect is the basis of this year's Pulitzer. My objection is that the Pulitzer committee failed to make that distinction and from now on, classical music will be judged (by them anyway) by the same standards as commercial pop music - or, I'd say, by no meaningful standards at all. It's anybody's guess what kind of music next year's prizewinner will be, if indeed a prize is awarded. As Slater says, referring also to the Nobel Prize for Bob Dylan, "The high culture vs low culture debate feels exhausted. Not least because the high-culture side seems to have pretty much given in." Except for a few of us here.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:42 am

In this intemperate quarrel of the Ancients with the Moderns, what Mr. Slater terms the Pulitzer board's "whiff of condescension" appears to apply to both parties in the dispute: in this instance, the hide-bound pot stubbornly fails to recognize the arriviste kettle as his long-lost twin brother.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by IcedNote » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:26 am

Boy, is this thread depressing.... :roll:

I think one of the roots of the problem is that people just can't grasp the immense amount of skill, talent, and dedication required to produce a successful hip hop track. "Oh, c'mon, that sounds so easy to do!" Well, consider that Kendrick is simply so talented that he...*wait for it*...makes it look easy.

I'm sure most of you know I'm a "trained" composer...but I got my start by producing hip hop and electronic dance music. And while the skills may be different between the two, that doesn't mean they're any less difficult to attain.

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:22 am

IcedNote wrote:people just can't grasp the immense amount of skill, talent, and dedication required to produce a successful hip hop track.
That doesn't signify. It's the finished work that counts, not how and with what effort it was produced. Mozart completed three great symphonies in about six weeks; Brahms labored for years at producing just one symphony, his first. Neither product is less worthy than the other.
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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:37 am

It does signify if rap is treated with wholesale contempt, as it has been by a few here.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:45 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:37 am
It does signify if rap is treated with wholesale contempt, as it has been by a few here.
Why does it signify, compared with the example I gave? When I was in publishing, I read manuscripts that the author had obviously poured years and tears into the making, that were worthless. On the other hand, Shakespeare cranked out his plays for many years at the rate of two a year. In art you don't get high marks for effort. It's so obvious that I shouldn't have to say it again.
John Francis

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:52 am

John F wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:45 am
Why does it signify, compared with the example I gave? . . . It's so obvious that I shouldn't have to say it again.
If I read him right, what's bothering IcedNote, and me, is the dismissive tone about rap adopted by some here.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by diegobueno » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:50 pm

IcedNote wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:26 am
I think one of the roots of the problem is that people just can't grasp the immense amount of skill, talent, and dedication required to produce a successful hip hop track. "Oh, c'mon, that sounds so easy to do!" Well, consider that Kendrick is simply so talented that he...*wait for it*...makes it look easy.

I'm sure most of you know I'm a "trained" composer...but I got my start by producing hip hop and electronic dance music. And while the skills may be different between the two, that doesn't mean they're any less difficult to attain.

-G
Garrett, it might be productive if you would clue us in as to what talent goes into a hip-hop track, and Kendrick Lamar's tracks in particular. I'm not trying to dispute you, I just think there are some people here, myself included, who might benefit from an explanation of just what it is that has been given such a prestigious prize.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:59 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:52 am
John F wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:45 am
Why does it signify, compared with the example I gave? . . . It's so obvious that I shouldn't have to say it again.
If I read him right, what's bothering IcedNote, and me, is the dismissive tone about rap adopted by some here.
I'm not dismissing rap per se because I'm sure it serves a sociological/cultural function. What concerns me more about the 'dismissive tone' comments is that value judgment is not just undesirable but a personal affront.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by John F » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:24 pm

I am indeed dismissing rap. Whatever its "sociological/cultural function," its compulsively rhyming words are mostly inane, its "music" hardly exists - nothing in it to keep the mind alive The last stage in the dumbing down of American popular music, unless something even emptier can be devised. Why we are discussing it in Classical Music Chatterbox is beyond me, but as long as we do, I'll continue to object.
John Francis

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:38 pm

John F wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:24 pm
I am indeed dismissing rap. Whatever its "sociological/cultural function," its compulsively rhyming words are mostly inane, its "music" hardly exists - nothing in it to keep the mind alive The last stage in the dumbing down of American popular music, unless something even emptier can be devised. Why we are discussing it in Classical Music Chatterbox is beyond me, but as long as we do, I'll continue to object.
American rap has become synonymous with misogyny and contempt towards women (mother f***kers - that kind of thing). Some groups have felt the need to express their anger and hatred in this way and it appears to have provided a political impetus for these groups as a form of cohesion and protest. In Australia the 'gangsta' culture is also alive and well, based on the tropes of rap.

To take it seriously as an 'art form' is a bridge too far for me and I've made a judgment that the Pulitzer prize for this is silly; ergo the Prize is no longer really something of value.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:53 pm

How such blanket expressions of contempt apply to the particulars of Kendrick Lamar's prize-winning work escapes me.

But if the discussion doesn't belong here, ask to get it moved out.

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Re: 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music--Kendrick Lamar????

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:08 pm

Sorry, I can't buy it. The statement by the Pulitzer Prize jury that Lamar's work reflected the "complexity of African-American life" sounds to me like a slightly more upscale version of the condescending, patronizing attitude expressed on the campaign trail toward the African-American community by President Trump in 2016. Why must any work that "reflects the complexity of African-American life" have its roots in a thug lifestyle and thug behavior? Again, what about musicians such as Anthony Davis, Anthony Braxton, and Wadada Leo Smith? Is their work not an authentic reflection of the complexity of African-American life? (Does the fact that Anthony Davis's father was a professor at Princeton somehow disqualify him from authentically expressing the "complexity of African-American life"?)

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