Kendrick Lamar deserves an Oscar

Christopher Heermann, Social Media Editor

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At the upcoming Academy Awards, Kendrick Lamar is up for a chance to add the Oscar for “Best Original Song” to his collection of awards for “All the Stars” featuring SZA. Lamar has won hundreds of awards for his music, and rightly so. In his trophy case, Lamar holds such prizes as “Best Rap Album” (x2), “Best Rap Song” (x3) and “Best Music Video” (x2) from the Grammy Awards. He garnered 19 various awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and has won an incredible 26 Black Entertainment Television (BET)/BET Hip-Hop awards.

Some argue, however, that he deserves more. These people claim that he was snubbed when he failed to win the coveted “Album of the Year” Grammy in 2013 for his first studio album, “Section 80,” again in 2016 for his groundbreaking album “To Pimp a Butterfly” and most recently in 2018 for politically charged “Damn.”

People were indignant when Bruno Mars’ album “24k Magic” beat out “Damn” but were unsurprised. The last time a rap album won “Album of the Year” was in 2004 with Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.”

Since then, even rap greats like Kanye West and Jay-Z have failed to win “Album of the Year.” They in turn have boycotted the ceremony along with other notable artists such as Frank Ocean and Drake. Drake even decided to stop submitting his projects to the Grammy’s completely.

The 2018 winner, Bruno Mars, addressed the other nominees in his acceptance speech, saying, “you guys are the reason why I’m in the studio pulling my hair out, because I know you guys are going to come with the top-shelf artistry and music.”

What makes the “Damn” loss more poignant is the reception it garnered in other respected award ceremonies. Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for the same album that lost to “24k Magic.” In the Pulitzer Facebook live video after the ceremony, Lamar said, “It’s an honor. I’ve been writing my whole life, so to get this type of recognition—it’s beautiful.”

The album was the first non-classical or jazz work to ever win the Pulitzer Prize, so why couldn’t it win the Grammy?

Most recently, Lamar led the soundtrack to Marvel’s “Black Panther.” Although he was nominated on Jan. 22 for “Best Original Song,” people are doubtful Lamar will win because of racial bias within the Academy. The racial bias of the Oscars has been in the spotlight in recent years, with several notable directors and actors boycotting the awards show due to the lack of representation in the nominations and winners. Skeptics predict that the winner for “Best Original Song” will be “Shallow” from “A Star is Born” starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

I agree with what Jay-Z said before the 2018 Grammys. “It’s going to be what it is. Bob Marley is going to be Bob Marley, whether he’s nominated for a Grammy or not. Tupac is going to be Tupac, Biggie is going to be Biggie.”

I have hope that Kendrick will prevail and get one step closer to an EGOT (winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony). But even if he doesn’t, he still has more Pulitzers than Lady Gaga.