Kendrick Lamar Makes Pulitzer History

Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar has become the first musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for music who is not a classical or jazz artist. He has won for his 2017 album "DAMN."

The Pulitzer Board describes "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." 

"DAMN." was awarded five Grammys, but not album of the year. That award went to Bruno Mars' 24K Magic.

Dana Canedy, the administrator of the Pulitzer prizes, says the board's decision to give the award to Lamar was unanimous. She says “[i]t 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.”

Lamar beat out co-finalists Michael Gilbertson and his string Quartet and Ted Hearne's cantata Sound from the Bench. This year's music jurors were: violinist Regina Carter; Paul Cremo, a director at The Metropolitan Opera; Farah Jasmine Griffin, a professor of English, comparative literature and African-American studies at Columbia University; David Hadju, music critic for The Nation; and David Lang, a composer. The winner receives a $15,000 prize.

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