Kendrick Lamar becomes first non-jazz or classical artist to win Pulitzer Prize

Judges applaud the "vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism" of 'DAMN.'

Kendrick Lamar has won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

First launching in 1943, the award annually honours “a distinguished musical composition of significant dimension by an American”.

This year, it went to Lamar for his 2017 album ‘DAMN.’, which came out last April.


Awarding Kendrick the prize, the Pulitzer judges 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”.

As Pitchfork points out, it’s the first time a non-jazz or classical artist has won the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy told Billboard how the panel were discussing a piece by a different composer that had hip-hop influences when one member asked, “Well if we’re considering a piece of music that has hip-hop influences, why aren’t we considering hip-hop?”, a query that eventually led them to consider Lamar.

Kendrick made a couple of surprise appearances at Coachella Festival at the weekend (April 13), joining both Vince Staples and SZA onstage at the California festival. See footage here.


Meanwhile, Fox News pundit Geraldo Rivera recently said that Kendrick Lamar‘s social commentary “pales in comparison to the ghetto civil war that’s being waged” in America.

The rapper dissed Rivera on his ‘DAMN.‘ track ‘YAH.’ after he said “hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism” in the wake of Lamar’s 2015 BET Awards performance. Rivera defended his past comments, adding that he is “an integrationist” and wants “people to live together, to aspire together”.

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