Kendrick Lamar has just made history by winning a Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album “DAMN.”
The Pulitzer Prize honours excellence in journalism, and also awards prizes for the arts, with “DAMN.” winning the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Not only is Lamar the first rapper to ever be awarded a Pulitzer, he’s also the first non-jazz or non-classical recording artist to win one of the prestigious awards.
“Storytelling has been Lamar’s greatest skill and most primary mission, to put into (lots of) words what it’s like to grow up as he did — to articulate, in human terms, the intimate specifics of daily self-defence from your surroundings,” writes Pitchfork’s Matthew Trammell of the rapper in the Pulitzer announcement. “Somehow, he’s gotten better.”
Meanwhile, the Pulitzer website describes “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.”
This marks the latest honour for Lamar’s most recent album, which took the 2018 Grammy for Best Rap Album, while “Damn.” single “HUMBLE.” won two Grammys (Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance) and another song from the album, “LOYALTY.”, won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
In a 2017 interview with comedian Dave Chappelle for Interview magazine, Lamar outlined his “mission statement” and how “DAMN.” fits into his creative vision.
“As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve learned that my mission statement is really self-expression. I don’t want anybody to classify my music,” he said. “I want them to say, ‘This is somebody who’s recognizing his true feelings, his true emotions, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and views on the world, all on one record,'” he told Chappelle.
“I want people to recognize that and to take it and apply it to their own lives,” he added. “You know what I’m saying? The more and more I get out and talk to different people, I realize they appreciate that — me being unapologetic in whatever views and approach I have.”