Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN Becomes The First Non-Jazz Or Non-Classical Album To Win A Pulitzer Prize

Kendrick Lamar continues to break down barriers and kick down doors. This time becoming not only the first Hip-Hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize but becoming the first non Jazz or Classical winner. 

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories.

In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a $15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.

Each year, 102 jurors are selected by the Pulitzer Prize Board to serve on 20 separate juries for the 21 award categories; one jury makes recommendations for both photography awards. Most juries consist of five members, except for those for Public Service, Investigative Reporting, Explanatory Reporting, Feature writing and Commentary categories, which have seven members; all book juries have three members. For each award category, a jury makes three nominations. The board selects the winner by majority vote from the nominations or bypasses the nominations and selects a different entry following a 75% majority vote. The board can also vote to issue no award. The board and journalism jurors are not paid for their work; however, the jurors in letters, music, and drama receive a $2,000 honorarium for the year, and each chair receives $2,500.

Needless to say this isn’t an easy award to obtain. Pulitzer Prize wrote on their official Instagram account “The 2018 #Pulitzer Prize in Music has been awarded to DAMN. by @kendricklamar, recording released on April 14, 2017, a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”

Congrats Kendrick.