Breaking through typical classical or jazz musicians, Kendrick Lamar has just won a Pulitzer Prize for DAMN.
The 2017 album was immediately critically acclaimed not only for its musical achievements but for further commentary on his upbringing in Compton, what it’s like to be Black in America and the legacy of hip-hop. The album was nominated for multiple Grammy awards and took home the prize for Best Rap Album earlier this year.
The album was described 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.”
In other words, Lamar’s work was too genius to count out, despite not falling into the usual winning genres. That it’s the first non-classical or jazz album to win the award says a lot about the worthiness of the subject matter, which has left the likes of Fox News feeling threatened.
Lamar’s work has been recognized in the past largely by the Grammys. To Pimp a Butterfly also won Best Rap Album in 2016 but good Kid, m.A.A.d city lost to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist in 2014.
Even if DAMN. remains the only non-classical Pulitzer Prize winner for years to come, music buffs will likely not forget the honor.