×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize for ‘Damn’

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.

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 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 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. Lamar, 30, has won 11 Grammy Awards and has been lauded by and has met with President Barack Obama on several occasions.

Musically, his albums have challenged both himself and hip-hop’s standards: While “Good Kid” was a kaleidoscopic take on Lamar’s own life and upbringing in a thoroughly melodic yet hard-hitting musical context, his next album was a deep challenge to his audience: He enlisted a battery of Los Angeles jazz musicians to back him, and while songs like the Isley Brothers-sampling “Alright” — an unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement — were relatively straightforward musically, others were challenging even to jazz heads. And while “Damn.” is a return to more conventional hip-hop overall, it is not without its challenges: For example, the second half of “D.N.A.” features three different musical elements that barely seem to have anything to do with each other.

Lamar was honored as Variety’s Hitmaker of the Year in November — read Andrew Barker’s cover story here.

 

More Music

  • tammy brook

    FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division

    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the [...]

  • 'Asbury Park' Doc Covers Bruce Springsteen,

    Film Review: 'Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock 'N Roll'

    A civic Phoenix story is promised and effectively delivered in “Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘N Roll,” even if there’s little doubt that what much of the audience will be hoping for from this documentary is Bruce, the whole Bruce and nothing but the Bruce. The film satisfies a good portion of that craving with [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Files Appeal Seeking Return

    Woodstock 50 Files Appeal Seeking Return of $18 Million From Former Financial Partner

    In the latest round of the ongoing legal battle between the organizers of Woodstock 50 and their erstwhile partners Dentsu Aegis, attorney Marc Kasowitz announced that the festival has filed an appeal for Dentsu to return some $18.5 million the financial giant withdrew from the organizers’ bank account. That money has been a point of [...]

  • Taylor Swift The Voice

    Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie Make 'Voice' Finale All About 'Me!' (Watch)

    A new winner was crowned on “The Voice” Tuesday night. But did that champion emerge from a dark chrysalis as the world’s largest and most glittery butterfly? Sorry, Madelyn Jarmon — that is a parking spot that is still very much reserved for overall life champion Taylor Swift, who took to the NBC telecast to [...]

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

  • Swae Lee

    Hitmaker of the Month: Swae Lee on 'Sunflower,' Working With Post Malone and Madonna

    Swae Lee is on another roll. The rapper, singer, songwriter and one half of the duo Rae Sremmurd, first made his mark back in 2015, with catchy, quirky urban smashes such as “No Flex Zone” and “No Type,” that were first underground anthems before eventually exploding onto radio stations nationwide. More recently, Lee, born Khalif [...]

  • Aretha Franklin'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of

    Three Handwritten Wills Found in Aretha Franklin's Home

    While Aretha Franklin was thought to have died without leaving behind a will, earlier this month three documents were discovered by her niece and filed in court earlier this week, according to the Associated Press. Two handwritten wills, dating from 2010, were found in a locked cabinet, and another from 2014 was discovered in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content