Kendrick Lamar just made history with his widespread critically acclaimed album DAMN, winning the 2018 Pulitzer for music and becoming the first rapper to be awarded the prestigious prize.
Lamar’s achievement is also remarkable as it broke the Pulitzer’s tradition of assigning the music prize to classic or jazz works. For the first time, a multi-platinum selling album that resonates with young audiences has globally triumphed. “[It is] big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers,” Prize administrator Dana Canedy told The New York Times on the historical win.
The LP, released last April, is composed of 14 politically charged tracks that explore the complexity of African-American life in the US in a time when conversations about race are increasingly at the centre of the public debate.
The Compton-born rapper has been celebrated as an innovator and social commentator since the release of his second studio album To Pimp a Butterfly in 2015. At this year’s Grammy Awards, DAMN won “best rap album” while Lamar’s intense political performance of successful singles DNA and HUMBLE made world headlines.