Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album, DAMN., becoming the first non-classical or jazz artist to receive the honor. The Pulitzer board announced the selection on Monday, calling the 2017 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.”
DAMN. is Lamar’s fourth studio album, the latest in a series of acclaimed and sonically eclectic records. The LP, which has reached double-platinum sales status, was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album at this year’s ceremony.
Last August, Lamar spoke to Rolling Stone about his creative mindset behind DAMN. “The initial goal was to make a hybrid of my first two commercial albums,” he said. “That was our total focus, how to do that sonically, lyrically, through melody – and it came out exactly how I heard it in my head. … It’s all pieces of me. My musicality has been driving me since I was four years old. It’s just pieces of me, man, and how I execute it is the ultimate challenge. Going from To Pimp a Butterfly to DAMN., that shit could have crashed and burned if it wasn’t executed right. So I had to be real careful on my subject matter and how I weave in and out of the topics, where it still organically feels like me.”
Last year, the Nobel Prize in Literature also crossed over into mainstream pop music, awarding their prestigious medal to Bob Dylan. The singer received a $900,000 prize during a small private ceremony in Stockholm after submitting his speech to the Swedish Academy.