By Hannah Welbourn | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kendrick Lamar is a great artist worthy of winning Grammys — and he gets them. He received five, actually, at the 2018 Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album (“HUMBLE.”). No one is denying Lamar’s talent as a lyricist and performer.
However, before exclaiming that “KENDRICK WAS ROBBED AGAIN!!” on every form of social media, one should take a closer look at the winner of Album of the Year, Bruno Mars.
Let me start by explaining my bias; I have been a diehard Mars fan since I first heard him featured “Nothin’ On You” by B.O.B. in middle school. I’ve purchased every album on vinyl. I’ve seen him in concert three times since I was 13 years old.
That being said, I won’t argue that Mars is a mainstream artist that award shows such as the Grammys love to pander to. I get it. Award shows can be bogus. But since when is mainstream pop such an inherently bad thing? Now I’m not necessarily a fan of the genre, but this is where I get confused.
Was Michael Jackson, literally dubbed the King of Pop, ever criticized for being too mainstream? Were people outraged when he won Grammys?
I’m sorry, I just have to defend the guy.
I could go to a Bruno Mars concert with my grandmother. The occasional no-hands hip thrust (probably) wouldn’t send her into cardiac arrest. Could I play “LUST.” by Kendrick Lamar for her? Absolutely not.
When my mom first heard “Perm” on “24k Magic” as I played it in the car, her initial reaction was “Is this James Brown?”
People from age 8 to 80 (believe me, I’ve seen plenty of wheelchairs and walkers at the concerts) love Bruno. For younger generations, it’s a new sound from the average four-chord songs they hear on their local radio station. For older ones, it’s the sound they grew up with.
Now I’m not saying that Kendrick Lamar doesn’t have a widely ranged audience. But, his lyrics probably aren’t suitable for children or the elderly. Bruno’s aren’t either. However, his way of singing about sex is a bit more subtle than Lamar’s.
I don’t think any of this makes Bruno a better artist than Kendrick. I’m just trying to defend an artist who I think is great, and deserving of “Album of the Year.” ■