Rapper Kendrick Lamar Wins The Pulitzer Prize For Music

OMG April 17, 2018 By Hugo

Rapper Kendrick Lamar has become the first non-classical or jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music.

The 30-year-old Los Angeles native was awarded the prize in recognition of his 2017 album Damn.

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Organisers in charge of the event said that it offered "affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life".

While Lamar has admitted that his latest offering didn't quite have the social and political gravitas of To Pimp A Butterfly, the esteemed musician still won five Grammy awards for Damn in January, though he lost out on the album of the year prize to Bruno Mars.

The Pulitzer is more synonymous for its celebration of literary and journalistic works than music, though the music prize is still a coveted award, and has only ever been awarded to jazz and classical artists.

The Guardian's chief music critic Alexis Petridis agreed with the Pulitzer's decisions, citing Lamar's ability not to insult his audience's intelligence like many mainstream artists do. "Lamar has proved it’s possible to make a huge mainstream impact with music that never panders to the lowest common denominator."

To prove this, Damn went platinum in the US and has sold more than a million copies in America alone. Add streaming figures to this number, and total units rise to 3.1 million equivalent sales.

The album is very much an ode to the complexities and failings of a modern-day America in an era where social injustice and racial inequality is becoming increasingly endemic. Dana Canedy, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize, said, "We are very proud of this selection."

"It means that the jury and its board judging system worked as it's supposed to - the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize."

"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."

While panelists were not all familiar with Damn before their deliberations, they had listened to it together and concluded that it was worthy of the award.

The winner receives a $15,000 prize, though this will be pocket change for an artist of Lamar's popularity. The most important aspect of the prize for Lamar isn't the money, but the standing his award now gives hip-hop as a platform for the political change he advocates in his music.


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