Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize
Kendrick Lamar is seen in this picture performing onstage with SZA during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2018 in Indio, California – Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America.
Kendrick Lamar has won a Pulitzer Prize for music for his album Damn., the organization announced Monday afternoon. It was the first win for a non-classical or jazz musician since the awards began including music some 75 years ago, according to Jem Aswad, senior music editor at the well known entertainment industry news magazine Variety.
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.” While Kendrick Lamar himself — who made two guest appearances at California’s Coachella festival over the weekend — did not immediately respond to requests for comment, Punch, head of Lamar’s label Top Dawg Entertainment, tweeted: “Pulitzer Prize winner Kdot from Compton. I [better] not ever hear one of you n—as speak with anything less than respect in your mouth for Kendrick Lamar. #TDE.”
Host Dana Canedy seemed quietly delighted when making the announcement, and in an interview with the New York Times on Monday said, “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. 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.”
While the Pulitzer’s usual laudatory blurb explaining the reasoning behind the award was not available at press time, there’s little doubt about the impact Kendrick Lamar has had on hip-hop, music and culture since he broke into the mainstream with his 2012 album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.” Each of his albums has been a vast musical progression from the one that came before, but most importantly, his lyrics reflect his upbringing in Los Angeles’ tough Compton area, the black experience in America, hip-hop’s history and legacy, stardom and countless other topics — all through a remarkably modest and self-assured attitude, one that does not lack the confidence and bluster that most rappers have, but all through the lens of an old soul. Kendrick Lamar, 30, has won 11 Grammy Awards and has been lauded by and has met with President Barack Obama on several occasions.