Kendrick Lamar Just Became the First Rapper to Win a Pulitzer


Was Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. cheated out of the Grammys’ Album of the Year, losing to Bruno Mars’ album I will never know the name of?

Yes. Does it matter? No, because Kendrick’s just been named the first non-jazz or classical project to ever win a Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album DAMN. Arguably the most culturally significant album of last year, Kendrick’s 14-track release sold over 3.5 million albums, and was described the top dogs at Pulitzer as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” DAMN, couldn’t have said it better myself.

Ted Hearne, a classical composer and finalist up against Kendrick for the award, said in an interview with the New York Times that Kendrick is, “one of the greatest living American composers, for sure.”

“The work that’s on that album is every bit as sophisticated and experimental as any music,” he said. “The idea that that’s not classical music, or that’s not experimental music, or that’s not art music is completely unfounded.”

The Pulitzer Prize is awarded to the best of the best in the fields of reportage, photography, fiction, drama, poetry, music and more. Check out the entire list of 2018  winners right here.

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