Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer in ‘Big Moment for Hip-Hop’

Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer for “DAMN.” makes him the first nonclassical or jazz musician to receive the prize since the awards expanded to music in 1943. CreditAmy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

In late January, the Compton, Calif., rapper Kendrick Lamar lost the Grammy Award for album of the year to Bruno Mars. “DAMN.,” Mr. Lamar’s fourth LP, was his third straight to be nominated but ultimately fall short of the trophy, considered by most to be the top prize in popular music.

But perhaps not anymore.

On Monday, Mr. Lamar’s “DAMN.” took home an even more elusive honor, one that may never have even seemed within reach: the Pulitzer Prize for music. Mr. Lamar is not only the first rapper to win the award since the Pulitzers expanded to music in 1943, but he is also the first winner who is not a classical or jazz musician.

“The time was right,” Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, said in an interview after the winners were announced. “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.”

She added: “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.”

Mr. Lamar’s “DAMN.” has sold more than 3.5 million albums, including digital streams, since its release in April 2017. CreditInterscope Records, via Associated Press

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Mr. Lamar was not immediately available to comment on his win. But Terrence Henderson, the record executive known as Punch from Mr. Lamar’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment, acknowledged the achievement on Twitter, writing that from now on, no one should “speak with anything less than respect in your mouth for Kendrick Lamar.”

Ms. Canedy said the board’s decision to award Mr. Lamar, 30, was unanimous. The board called 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.”

 

 

courtesy of NYTimes.com

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