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What Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Means for Hip-Hop

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Kendrick Lamar has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music for his 2017 album, “DAMN.” Lamar is the first rapper to win a Pulitzer, and “DAMN.” is the first hip-hop composition to be honored since the establishment of the music prize in 1943.

In a refreshing change of pace, could it be that the Pulitzer is the award to make the Grammys obsolete in terms of acknowledging master works of art echoing the tones of a group of people misheard by the white privileged? Lamar’s historic win boldly shapes an incision of blackness within elite spaces and begs the question: What does this mean for hip-hop music?

Perhaps it means the world might finally be catching up to rap. The Pulitzer is known for rewarding classical and, occasionally, jazz compositions. A choice that has topped the pop charts and resonated so widely is as overdue as it is unexpected. The Pulitzer board deemed the album “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”

Truth of the matter is that hip-hop has historically been one of the ways for black Americans to see a reflection of their own lives in mainstream art. Akil Houston, a hip-hop scholar and assistant professor at the University of Ohio, says: “Rap was the black community’s CNN.”

For example, N.W.A became famous for not holding back about what it was like to be young, black and terrorized by the police. Ice Cube even referred to himself as a journalist “reporting on his community.”

More recently, Lamar has connected his honest experiences growing up in Compton with a successful purgative, venting style of rap. His chilling video for “Alright” shows a black teen lying dead in the street, another running from a Klan-like group, and officers slamming one more to the ground. Lamar performed the song on top of a graffiti-covered squad car at the 2015 BET Awards. Despite his mainstream success, Lamar still keeps his music authentic, mirroring the lens through which sees the world.  In “The Heart, Party 4,” a pre-album track from “Damn,” Lamar wrote, “Donald Trump is a chump, know how we feel, punk / Tell ’em that God comin’ / And Russia need a replay button, y’all up to something,” keeping the consistency of his emotions from suppressive, sometimes even political, outrage.

It seems the world is less blinded by the ability for complex, multi-layered work to come from less-traditional outlets. Perhaps each art form just has to pay its dues in culture and prove an impact can outlast the trend of one generation. Maybe now society is more inclined to attempt to understand others through their art. Whatever the case may be, Lamar is the soundtrack for youth culture outraged by the Trump era, where police brutality still sees no consequences and harmless black men are arrested while waiting for their friend in a Starbucks. And the echoes of offense are creating art resonating far beyond the streets of Compton. We all feel Lamar’s resentment and it’s leaving us shook as we take a look at where we are and where we are headed as a culture.

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First Look at Epic Trailer For Elton John Biopic ‘Rocketman’

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There are moments in a rockstar’s life that define who he is. The movie “Rocketman,” about the life of Elton John, will take audiences to some of those moments in summer 2019.

The film’s star, Taron Egerton, tweeted before the trailer was dropped to say that he was looking forward to people seeing it, adding: “Words cannot describe how proud and excited I am.”

That’s because the trailer is fucking brilliant. Check it out.

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Kanye West Wants To Arrange Meeting Between Kaepernick and Trump

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WARNING: Kanye West has a new album to promote, so expect BIZARRE behavior.

Kanye West’s new album, “Yhandi,” was promised to drop during his Sept. 29 appearance on the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” That didn’t happen. Instead, the release date was changed to Nov. 23, a.k.a., Black Friday. In less than 48 hours, his outlandish conduct has included: controversy over wanting to abolish the 13th Amendment (which ended slavery), the filming of a music video in the grass by the parking lot outside of TMZ’s HQ, and announcing he’s trying to organize a meeting between Colin Kaepernick and President Donald Trump. More bat-shit craziness is likely to come.

Trump has been extremely critical of Kaepernick, strongly pressuring NFL owners to fire all of the “sons of bitches” who don’t stand for the national anthem.

But West wants to bring them together. During an interview Monday on “TMZ Live,” West said he’s reached out to Kaepernick to try to make that happen. Unless you’ve been trapped in human trafficking circles, you likely know Kaepernick was under intense scrutiny from Trump after kneeling during the national anthem at football games to shine a light on police brutality against black people.

He didn’t say if either side was open to the idea, but Trump has praised West for being a brilliant leader.

Meanwhile, Kim:

On a positive note, West did premiere a new song on “Saturday Night Live” that might just be his best song this decade. Check it out:

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Cardi B Turned Herself Into Police After Strip Club Fight

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Cardi B turned herself in to New York Police police at the 109th Precinct in Queens Monday morning over charges stemming from a fight at a strip club.

Sources told TMZ that Cardi B has “long-standing beef” with a bartender at the club, with whom she allegedly started the fight. The rapper was at Angels Strip Club back in Aug. 2018 to watch her husband, Offset, perform with Migos on the night of the incident, and she allegedly told her crew to attack the women with bottles and chairs after rumors swirled that one of them had slept with Offset.

The new mom was involved in another fight recently. In September, Cardi B was left with a welt on her head after she was involved in an altercation with Nicki Minaj at a New York Fashion Week party.

Joe Tacopina, the attorney representing the two female bartenders, released a statement to CNN stating: “Cardi B ordered and committed violent assaults against my clients, and is being called to justice for her crimes. Apparently, she thinks her celebrity status puts her above the law, since she has bragged to multiple people and on social media that she orchestrated these vicious attacks,” Tacopina said. “But reality is setting in, as justice does not care whether her name is Cardi B or Carly B, and she will now answer for her crimes.”
“We’re aware of no evidence that she caused anybody any harm on that night,” Jeff Kern, an attorney representing Cardi B told press outside the police precinct. “We expect that the matter is going to be resolved expeditiously.”

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