American Rapper, Kendrick Lamar became the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music on Monday. This prize was given to him, because his skill in telling the African American experience.
What this means
With the Pulitzer, the 30-year-old from the historically deprived Los Angeles community of Compton joins the leagues of celebrated American composers such as Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and John Adams.
Reason for choosing “DAMN”
The Pulitzer board, which also awards literature and journalism, gave Lamar the prize for “DAMN.,” an exploration of a classic hip-hop sound for an artist who has shifted gears musically with each album.
In its announcement, the Pulitzer board described “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.,” which reached number one on the US albums chart, moves forward the conversation about race that Lamar started on his previous album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which infused jazz and spoken word and gave voice to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“DAMN.” opens with Lamar addressing his cultural role indirectly with a snippet from a conservative talk show criticizing his lyrics against police brutality, which he again raises in the track “XXX.,” a reflection on the meaning of America that features U2.