Rapper Kendrick Lamar Becomes First Hip-Hop Artist to Win a Pulitzer Prize
The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday afternoon and Kendrick Lamar took out the music category for his album DAMN.
Lamar's fourth studio album, released in April 2017, was nominated for two Grammy's winning Best Rap Album. His single Humble was also nominated for a further four awards and it won a couple too - those being Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Music Video. Overall, Lamar has won 11 Grammys since his debut in 2012.
Lamar's win is a massive and historic move, since the award for music first began in '43 it has mostly gone to artists for classical or jazz works. This is the first time a hip-hop artist has nabbed the award.
The prizes were announced by Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy who genuinely appeared to take great joy announcing Lamar's win. (Skip to the 10 minute mark for the music category.)
Canedy described DAMN 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."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Canedy took great joy in announcing Lamar's win, especially in a category that more often than not would award contemporary classical artists who were often white and male. The first woman didn't win the award until 1983, 40 years after the music category first began, and no African American won until 1996. Lamar's win has huge ramifications for the cultural and historic importance of hip-hop artists and albums.
Lamar's most recent work saw him featured on the enormously successful album for the Marvel flick Black Panther which he produced. He was also the reason artists such as SZA, The Weeknd, Jay Rock and Future were so keen to work together.
Other winners of the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes included the staff of The New York Times and The Washington Post for their reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, as well as the New Yorker and The New York Times for their investigations into the sexual misconduct of Harvey Weinstein and the greater #MeToo movement.
Check out the full list of winners here.
Featured image: Rick Kern/Getty Images.