Kendrick Lamar accepted the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his record DAMN. during a ceremony at Columbia University in New York City. The distinction made the Lamar the first non-classical or jazz artist to receive the honor.
In an introduction that echoed the Pulitzer board’s original announcement, the presenter called DAMN., Lamar’s fourth LP, as a “virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.”
Lamar, seated at a table with CBS News anchor Gayle King, didn’t comment while accepting the prize, but briefly commented in the Pulitzer Facebook live video. “It’s an honor … I’ve been writing my whole life, so to get this type of recognition – it’s beautiful.”
DAMN. won Best Rap Album and was nominated for Album of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards. Last August, Lamar spoke to Rolling Stone about his artistic mindset while crafting the double-platinum LP.
“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.”