Kendrick Lamar Won A Pulitzer


Yep, you read that correctly. Now, rapper Kendrick Lamar can add “Pulitzer Prize Winner” to his ever-expanding resume. In a historical feat, the “HUMBLE.” rapper beat out composers Michael Gilbertson and Ted Hearne for the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2017 album DAMN., an honor that’s previously only been awarded to classical musicians.

Speaking to Slate, Gilberton expressed his shock – and excitement – on learning he was nominated alongside Lamar. “I never thought my string quartet and an album by Kendrick Lamar would be in the same category,” he said. “This is no longer a narrow honor. It used to be classical composers competing against each other in relatively small numbers, but now we’re all competing against these major voices in music.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” Hearne added about the Lamar’s win. “When we say classical music, I think it’s a collection of audiences and musicians that have been grouped together and a big part of that grouping together, over centuries, has been about the exclusion of nonwhite people and nonwhite artists. Sure, in some respects, using violins and European classical instruments is a part of classical music, but so are a lot of other ideas. Especially in America, there are incredibly important musical thinkers who have been kept out of classical music spaces for a long time.”

Hearne’s comment speaks to why this moment is so radical. While, of course, we all know how amazing Kendrick Lamar is, but for him to be honored in a space that mostly (and historically) acknowledges cis, straight, white men – well, that’s incredible. Not only is hip-hop finally being recognized as a creative outlet as important as more traditionally celebrated genres, the world is also finally starting to support the voices of people of color.

Plus, DAMN. is a really great album.



Photo from the back cover of DAMN. by designer Vlad Sepetov


Premiere: Watch the New Video for Cazwell’s “Dance Like You Got Good Credit”

Openly gay rapper Cazwell’s new song “Dance Like You Got Good Credit” and corresponding music video (NYC-based) parodies normative lifestyle values in the traditional rap-god video format. The lyrics are almost a little too real for many hip-hop listeners, and sure to stir up some controversy. Riding the recent vaporwave internet trend, Cazwell’s video still manages to balance the satire with a healthy amount of humor. And not to mention a sick beat.

Cazwell’s new album Hard 2 B Fresh comes out on September 30th via Peace Bisquit.

Cazwell creates an eclectic fusion of moombathon (electro/reggaeton/house) with rap and colorful lyrics.

The Massachusetts-born Cazwell has proven himself a hard worker: from becoming a YouTube sensation after a million people viewed his “Ice Cream Truck” music video in a single week, to producing a steady flow of tracks and videos that has his engaging charisma and personality immersed in it. He has since earned credibility with danceable hip hop tracks −including “Rice & Beans” and “I Seen Beyoncé At Burger King” and “No Selfie Control” − that impressively showcase his hypomanic take on pop culture. “Good Credit” featuring Cherie Lily tackles the debt crisis the United States is in – a situation Cazwell finds amusing because “we go broke trying to make ourselves look rich”. Cazwell has been described as “what would have happened if Eminem had grown up on Madonna’s front lawn.”

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake Manage ‘History Of Rap, Part 4’

For the past couple of years everytime JT hits up Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the two of them perform a medley (is "medley" the right word?) of hip hop songs accompanied by The Roots.

JT just wrapped up a weeklong residence on Late Night as he promotes his new album, The 20/20 Experience, and dropped gems like his performance of Row Row Row Your Boat dressed as Michael McDonald and SexyBack as a barbershop quartet.

So it’s fitting he’d go out with a bang — History Of Rap: Part 4, this time celebrating everyone from Salt-N-Pepa to Biggie to the Beastie Boys. 


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Drakes Joins Kendrick Lamar For ‘Poetic Justice’ Video

Kendrick Lamar just released his music video for Poetic Justice, feautring Drake, and it’s kinda depressing. Even while sampling Janet Jackson’s song Any Time, Any Place.

Before the video even starts there’s a message onscreen reading:

"All characters in this visual are entirely fictional. The events that occur are purely symbolic and should not be taken literal."

Weird message, right? I wonder who that was intended for. 

The slow-mo video, theatrically lit, shows a group of young adults hanging out in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw neighborhood before shots are fired and someone gets hurt.

"Haunting" is a good way to describe it

You can watch Poetic Justice below:

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Azealia Banks Remixes ‘Harlem Shake’

"Harlem Shake" is the new dance craze the kids are doing these days. If you have to ask what it is, you’re probably too old to know. Also, Azealia Banks video won’t explain it to you.

Banks remixed "Harlem Shake," a song by the New York-based DJ Baauer whose ’80s-inspired dance became a meme overnight and spurred reaction videos everywhere from schools to campaign videos to puppies

Azealia Banks’s remix isn’t a true "Harlem Shake" video—it’s her swinging her gorgeous long hair in the air and shaking her ass at the camera. Which is kind of like making a Gangnam Style spoof without doing the dance. But whatever!

Watch Azealia’s remix below:

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Solange Knowles Grouses About Music Bloggers That Don’t Understand R&B

I don’t know exactly which music blogs she is referring to specifically. But this morning Solange Knowles went off on a Twitter rant about bloggers who don’t "get" hip hop culture and R&B culture.

Knowles tweets seem to be implying that some writer(s) who aren’t fully immersed in hip hop and R&B culture are writing influenctial blog posts critiquing aspects of it that they don’t understand:

Who has pissed of Solange?

And more importantly: how dare you piss off Solange?!?!

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Angel Haze Drops Azealia Banks Diss Track Following Twitter Spat

There are few turns of phrases that make me feel old than "Twitter beef," but it is so: hip-hop starlets Azealia Banks and Angel Haze were caught feuding online this week after Banks suggested that one cannot claim to be a New Yorker if one was not born in New York. I call myself a New Yorker, despite being born in Virginia, but I kept pretty quiet for fear of an all-caps response from Banks. I don’t want to be in a Twitter beef with Azealia Banks! Angel Haze, whose song "New York" includes the line "I run New York," despite her Michigan upbringing. Rappers are always on edge about these sorts of things. Naturally, the two of them spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon shit-talking each other.

Rather than letting this feud curtail her artistic endeavors, Angel Haze dropped a diss track called "On The Edge," which allows Haze room to spit enough insults ("Bitch put an album out / I think my album’s more done than yours and I just started a week ago" is a good sample) to keep me waiting for Banks’s response. Also, I should really figure out how to use GarageBand the next time someone pisses me offline, because making my own diss track sounds more fun than just blocking them.

[Via Pitchfork]

Update: Because the internet waits for no man, Azealia Banks has already released her rebuttal. This is what happens when you take your lunch break in between writing a post and actually scheduling it to publish online. Lesson learned, ladies! 

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Rick Ross Drops F-Bomb In Tribute To Kids Killed By Newtown Massacre

That was wellmeaning, Rick Ross … but no.

Ross performed at Power 106’s annual Cali Christmas Concert in California last night, despite numerous other performances, premieres and concerts being rescheduled in light of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 28 people dead. 

While onstage, Ross said "I wanna send all my prayers out to all the kids who lost their mothefucking lives in Connecticut. Amen. Amen. We will all rap for them. Put your hands in the sky," before performing a song.

I’m not sure that "motherfucking lives" is the best way to refer to six- and seven-year-olds who were shot multiple times each by a murderer.

But maybe I’m just being sensitive. 

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Macklemore And Ryan Lewis Perform ‘Thrift Shop’ On TV For First Time Ever

Seattle rapper Macklemore and his collaborator Ryan Lewis have been in the eye of hip hop lovers for a few years. Shortly after they dropped The Heist back in October, they watched their album crawl up the Billboard charts to #2. This week, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed on TV for for the first time ever, courtesy of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Decked out in thrift shop couture (scent unknown) and obviously thrilled, they performed their feel-good single Thrift Shop with singer Wanz and a little help from The Roots.

Cheers to you, boys, for saying the words "skeet blanket" for perhaps the first time on TV ever!  The performance got even more fun when Macklemore ran into the audience with his mic and started tossing out clothes:

Earlier this week, the group also performed a concert in YouTube’s offices and did a Q&A. (And were paid in tube socks, apparently.) You can watch them perfom Thrift Shop, 10,000 Hours and Same Love and other songs.  

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