Kendrick Lamar Is Hip-Hop’s First Pulitzer Prize Winner

He’s also the only non-classical or jazz winner ever

Last Updated: April 16, 2018 @ 12:56 PM

Kendrick Lamar was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album “DAMN.” on Monday, becoming the first non-classical or jazz musician to win the award since the category’s inception in 1943.

The 2017 album beat out composer Michael Gilbertson’s “Quartet” and Ted Hearne’s “Sound from the Bench,” a collection of four choral works relating to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Upon its release last April “DAMN.” was hailed by both fans and critics, earning a score of 95 out of 100 on Metacritic, making it the highest-rated album of the year. It also topped the Billboard albums chart for three weeks, selling more than a million copies, and was awarded Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

In the announcement on Monday, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy described the album 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.”

Among the other winners were reports on the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations in the New York Times and the New Yorker, investigative reporting about the scandals of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore by the Washington Post, a profile of Charleston shooter Dylann Roof by GQ and the Andrew Sean Greer novel “Less.”

See the complete list of winners here.