Kendrick Lamar has created the perfect fusion of politics and hip hop, and on Monday he got a Pulitzer Prize — and of course he did. In a time when hip hop is supersaturated with vapid pop hits and petty feuds, Lamar is socially resonant and musically gifted. He is the voice of this generation, and the first hip hop artist to win the music Pulitzer, for his 14-track “Damn.”
While artists like Lil’ Wayne admit they don’t feel“connected” to Black Lives Matter, Lamar is providing anthems for revolutionary millennials across the country, in much the way that Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam” sounded an anthem for the civil rights movement.
Like Simone, the roots of hip hop are absolutely political. From the blunt social commentary delivered by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” in 1982 to N.W.A. shining a light on police brutality in the late 1980s, this art form has always represented where we are as a culture and where we are headed.
Poets represented the streets in a way that made you feel not so alone, whether you were in Compton, the Bronx, or Chi-Town.