Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize

"DAMN." is awarded top prestigious honor for music.

April 17, 2018
Kendrick Lamar

You've probably heard of the Pulitzers.  There's a Pulitzer prize for reporting, for fiction, for peace's a super-prestigious honor that is awarded to the creme de la creme in their respective fields.

What you may not have known, however, is that there's also a Pulitzer for music.  And, in an act that has shaken up the musical community and the austere history of the prize, the 2018 Pulitzer in music has been awarded to Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Mr. Lamar is not only the first rapper to win the award since the Pulitzer's expansion to music in 1943, but he is also the first winner who is not a classical or jazz musician.

“The time was right,” Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, said in an interview after the winners were announced. “We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.”

She added: “It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers.”

If you're a Kendrick Lamar fan or familiar with "DAMN.", none of this should come as a surprise.  Kendrick Lamar as a composer is a force to be reckoned with, and the album in its entirety showcases his talent in songwriting and composition.  This is a well-deserved honor, and perhaps indiciative of recent social evolution which may be re-examining culture and its contributors in light of race, gender, and equality.

The Pulitzer board called 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.”

That's a super-fancy way to capture the popular opinion about the album, which is that it is a work of genius.  Congratulations to Kendrick Lamar, and also the the Pulitzer Board...this is an exciting year to be a Kendrick Lamar fan!