He did that!
Kendrick Lamar just raised the bar.
The rapper won a Pulitzer Prize — “an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States” — for his album, DAMN. The highly exclusive award marks a huge moment in hip-hop, as K. Dot is the first non classical or jazz musician to be honored with a Pulitzer since it expanded to music in the early ’40s.
“The time was right,” said the administrator of the prizes, Dana Canedy, 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.”
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“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,” Canedy continued. She revealed that the decision to honor Kendrick with this award was unanimous within the board, as they called the LP “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”
According to David Hajdu, one of the music jurors, the board looked at over 100 pieces before selecting DAMN., an album that topped the charts upon its release.
“That led us to put on the table the fact that this sphere of work” — referencing rap music as a whole — “has value on its own terms and not just as a resource for use in a field that is more broadly recognized by the institutional establishment as serious or legitimate,” Hajdu said.
While fans and spectators alike were baffled at Kendrick’s Grammy loss to Bruno Mars, this seems to be making up for it.
“Beyoncé had Coachella renamed after her, Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize, & Black Panther has made more money than Titanic. Black history month is every month, every day, every year, all the time,” author Clint Smith tweeted. Magic Johnson chimmed in,”Congratulations to @kendricklamar for being the first ever rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize in music for his album DAMN. I’m proud of you for your amazing work!”
Others like Bruno Mars, Logic, Eddie Griffin and even NAACP’s official Twitter account offered the rapper congratulations on his achievement.
Kendrick has been killing the game this whole time. Just last year, the rapper was featured on the cover of Forbes‘ December “30 Under 30” issue. During the accompaning interview, the To Pimp a Butterfly artist spoke intelligently about modern culture, hip-hop’s current state and “mumble rap.”
According to Kendrick Lamar, in order for hip-hop to continue thriving and growing, everyone has to realize that music is a reflection of artists’ personal style and all musicians have to respect each other. “That’s why I can’t shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar. But this is what I tell them every time I see them… be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork,” Kendrick said.
The “Loyalty” artist dropped tons of knowledge on the wave that rappers like 21 Savage, Young Thug, Future and Desiigner have made famous. He even offered big-brother-like advice to younger artist. “Don’t go on your interviews and diss them and say you don’t like them and you don’t care for them,” he said, addressing those who actively speak out against their fellow rappers. “That’s your opinion, that’s cool but you have to respect them.”
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