Kendrick Lamar makes history as first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize
On Monday (Apr. 16) Kendrick Lamar became the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, one of the most prestigious arts awards in the United States.
In addition to the prestigious accolade, the rapper will also collect a $15,000 cheque. His album ‘DAMN’ was rewarded as a “distinguished musical composition by an American.”
“(Kendrick’s album is) a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life,” a statement reads.
In the lyrics to the album, Kendrick touches on his early life growing up in Compton, California and issues affecting the U.S. and the world.
The 2017 Pulitzer Prize for music went to “Angel’s Bone,” an opera by composer Du Yun.
The Pulitzer for music, which was first awarded in 1943, generally goes to contemporary classical music; a quick scan through the list of previous winners reveals a lot of operas and symphonies. Lamar, however, is a hip-hop artist, and DAMN. is a hip-hop album.
So Lamar is now not only the first person to win a Pulitzer for a hip-hop album but the first person to win a Pulitzer for any music that’s not classical or jazz.