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


Kendrick Lamar Is in His ‘ELEMENT’ in Beautiful, Violent New Video

For Kendrick Lamar’s latest video, he swapped blood on the leaves for blood on the sleeves. In “ELEMENT” from his incredible fourth album DAMN, Kendrick literally packs a heavy punch with a violent video filled with visual symbolism. Directed by Jonas Lindstroem and the Little Homies (Kendrick’s directing alias with Dave Free), a narrative of cyclical violence in the black community comes to life and is juxtaposed with imagery of nuns and purifying water reminiscent of last year’s Moonlight.

It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking showcase of the kind of upbringing that isn’t often shown in videos and in some of the most heartbreaking scenes, Kendrick pays homage to photographer Gordan Parks.

The video follows two previous singles from the greatest rapper in the music industry. Previously, he released the visual masterpiece “HUMBLE” and the Don Cheadle-starring “DNA.” Watch all three below.

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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Andy Samberg Returns To ‘SNL’ To Explain What YOLO Really Means

Andy Samberg returned to Saturday Night Live last night for a digital short starring Lonely Island, host Adam Levine and musical guest Kendrick Lamar all about YOLO. In case you’ve been under a rock, YOLO is the acronym everyone loves to hate and last night it didn’t mean "you only live once." With these guys, YOLO is a warning: "you oughtta look out." 

The clip reminded us what Samberg did best on SNL: absurdist digital shorts. The joke in this one gets old quickly, although Lamar’s brief, serious interlude makes it funny again. 

Still, I wouldn’t mind if Samberg comes back with Lonely Island occasionally for digital shorts on SNL:  

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Governor’s Ball Festival Returns to Randall’s Island With Kanye, Kendrick, More

It’s freezing and gross in a considerable chunk of the country, which means it’s time to start thinking about summer, and with it, the crowded, drunken, heavily-Instagrammed bacchanalia that is the summer music festival. Your first major festival lineup announcement of 2013 happened today, in this case the third-annual Governors Ball Music Festival, which returns to its home on Randall’s Island June 7th, 8th and 9th. The biggest names on the flyer are Kanye West and Kings of Leon, as well as one blacked-out name to be revealed later (let the speculation begin!). The bulk of the bill features people whose albums you really liked last year, or whose albums you didn’t really like but maybe read about a lot on music blogs, including Japandroids, Kendrick Lamar, Grizzly Bear, the xx, Nas, Dirty Projectors, Best Coast, The Lumineers, Gary Clark Jr., Beach House, Azealia Banks and dozens of other year-end list luminaries. Like musical confetti made from cut-up Pazz & Jop ballots. 

Other notable names on the lineup include one of BlackBook’s Stars of 2013, HAIM, Swedish party starters Icona Pop, Erykah Badu, Feist, festival regular Pretty Lights, Wild Nothing, Fucked Up and Dillon Francis. Those less inclined to care about the music can find food courtesy of a few familiar trucks, including Asia Dog, Mexicue and Pie for the People. There is also ping-pong, croquet and bocce and something called a "Silent Disco," which seems to be on the bill at a lot of festivals and the impetus for some half-baked thinkpiece somewhere about the way we live and share music now. Tickets for the big festival thing go on sale this Friday at noon. 

Several top-rated tracks of 2012, including Kendrick Lamar’s "Backseat Freestyle" and Japandroids’ "The House That Heaven Built," soundtrack the Austin Peters-helmed lineup video, which features Jonathan Sollis and Fabrizio Goldstein strolling around New York in tuxes and dark sunglasses, on a neverending quest to make it rain. Watch.

It’s December, Which Means It’s Time For End-Of-The-Year Mixtapes

End of the year listicles are a weird double-edged sword—yeah, they can be seen as agenda-setting and the discourse around them mind-numbing (“Where is [Album I Liked]?” “Why is [Album I Hated] on this list?”), but they’re also a great way to catch up on the good stuff you might have missed over the past year. For those who can’t stand all that clicking and reading, end-of-the-year mixtapes are a tolerable and dance party-ready substitute.

Hype Machine, instead of doing the whole end-of-the-year listicle thing, enlisted a pair of popular dance party curators to do their 2012 mixes, Major Lazer and the Hood Internet. The former, in addition to the international jamz with which Major Lazer are associated, features hits from Kendrick Lamar, Usher, TNGHT, and Hot Chip, as well as some of their own tracks from this year, including a sped-up “Original Don” and the wub-happy collaboration with Flux Pavilion, “Jah No Partial.” Chicago duo The Hood Internet feature Kanye West, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Future, and Chief Keef, among others, and both mixes feature iterations of M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls.”

DJ Daniel Kim takes a more pure pop approach to his end-of-the-year mix, which features some of the biggest singles of the year, with videos to match. More than 50 tracks from the forgettable (“Payphone,” that Flo Rida whistle song) to some particularly choice jams—you may have forgotten “Call Me Maybe,” Grammys, but the Danthology certainly did not. Fun.’s “We Are Young” gets mixed with tracks from Katy Perry and Nelly Furtado, and what’s amazing is how immensely improved all three become.

The only end-of-the-year mix that seems conspicuously missing is DJ Earworm, who has been delivering a mega-mashup pop music State of the Union of sorts for years along the lines of Danthology. But we’re sure he’ll have something along soon. In the meantime, put these on your New Year’s Eve playlist.

Has Kendrick Lamar Released The Album Of The Year?

Last night my friend said he was in danger of overdosing on rapper Kendrick Lamar’s major-label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. “It’s so good,” he said, “and I need to ease up.” But easing up is exactly what Lamar never seems to do—he’s relentless, both in his delivery of memoiristic narrative and demonstrations of technical skill.

Receiving a near-unthinkable 9.5 rating from Pitchfork, Lamar’s album swerves between the countless current demands on hip-hop, from the slinky, bong-ready vibe on the appropriately named “Bitch, Dant Kill My Vibe” to the absolute club-banger beasthood of the next track, “Backstreet Freestyle,” which flat-out destroys similar efforts on Kanye’s Cruel Summer project.

The secret weapon, not that Lamar is hurting for one, is Dr. Dre, who first shows up on “Compton,” named for the infamous city both rappers grew up in. With a blaring horn section at their backs, Dre and Lamar explain in no uncertain terms what their home is all about. But bonus track “The Recipe,” also featuring Dr. Dre, may be even better. Either way, it’s an exciting debut (of sorts) and a signal that while Jay-Z has his hands full with the Brooklyn Nets, the West Coast scene is in Renaissance mode. 

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Listen Up: Fall New Releases Roundup

Summer may be coming to a close, with hemlines dropping and day-drinking becoming less socially acceptable, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop—at least not where your ears are concerned. With the changing of seasons comes the best-of-the-best music releases to help ease the pain of summertime withdrawals. With choice efforts from phoenix-like indie goddess Cat Power, who did some major soul-searching and self-inventing on her latest album, swagger-centric hip-hop head A$AP Rocky who’s destined for mainstream acclaim, to the unusual pairing of an art-rock veteran and an indie darling sonic ingénue, this year’s must-listen albums run the gamut of aural awesomeness. Without further ado, tantalize your ears with our editor-approved picks of the season.

A$AP Rocky – LongLiveA$AP
Named after one-half of the legendary rap duo Eric B and Rakim, A$AP Rocky (neé Rakim Mayers) dominated the headphones of hipster hip-hop fans with his debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP. After whetting the collective sonic appetite of the blogosphere A$AP Rocky is back with his rhyme-tastic full-length debut LongLiveA$AP, which features a cameo from pouty seductive songstress Lana Del Rey.

Cat Power – Sun
After enduring serious heartbreak (a bad breakup with actor Giovanni Ribisi) Cat Power chanteuse and multi-instrumentalist Chan Marshall decided to put the pain to music. The resulting sound on Sun, Cat Power’s stellar new album, is electronic-infused, soulful without being contrived, and full of lush melodies, and heart-on-sleeve lovelorn lyrics. Highlights include opener “Cherokee” and the power-pop laden “Ruin.”

St. Vincent and David Byrne – Love This Giant
While this may seem like an unlikely pairing, the Talking Heads front man and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark make beautifully artful music together. Filled with a bombastic horn section, catchy hooks, and cerebral lyrics, Love This Giant revels in its own innovation and redefines the notion of a super group. Music nerds rejoice!

The xx – Coexist
Purveyors of moody make out music, London’s The xx are back with the long-awaited sophomore album Coexist. Filled with the stunning sonic textures and slithering sensuality you’d expect from this Brit trio, Jamie xx and company deliver songs with more-fully formed lyrics, like the love-longing ambience of “Chained.”

Grizzly Bear – Shields
The sometimes-precious indie crooners Grizzly Bear are back with Shields, the follow up to 2009’s critically acclaimed Vekatimest. Staying true to the spacious dreamy layers from past efforts, Shields combines ethereal harmonies, psych-infused guitar riffs, and lush soundscapes making for a perfect Sunday morning sound.

Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, Mad City
With the lyrically dexterous Good Kid, Mad City, up-and-coming rapper Kendrick Lamar offers up his signature philosophical-heavy rhyme style to masses. On this major label debut Lamar collaborates with avant-popstress Lady Gaga and cleverly pontificates on the highs and lows of inebriation on the hip-shaking bagger “Swimming Pools (Drank).”

Kendrick Lamar & Dr. Dre Rap About Life’s Finer Pleasures on ‘The Recipe’

Dr. Dre’s Detox is the magical unicorn of rap releases, but there’s no reason why he can’t rhyme for other people. On Kendrick Lamar’s new single, "The Recipe," the Doctor steps in to set up Lamar’s ode to the only things that matter in California: women, weed, and weather. Fair enough! Unfortunately, Dre doesn’t produce the track (that comes courtesy of Scoop DeVille), which is built around a sample of Twin Sister’s "Meet the Frownies." That’s too bad — for a moment, I got a nice image of Dre sitting at home, scouring the Internets for all the hottest Brooklyn bands. Check it out after the click, via

Which is not to devalue all of Lamar’s contributions; it’s just that it’s not as surprising when he delivers a knockout song, since that’s all he’s been doing for the last few years. Dre’s appearances are far rarer and something to be treasured, even if it’s a little awkward to hear a family man rap about how his woman will "fuck til’ the morning." Come on, be more of a Dr. Dad than that. Good Kid in a Mad City, Lamar’s upcoming major label debut, will be out sometime later this year.