Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.' Just Won A Pulitzer Prize. Here's Why That's A Big Deal.

"The time was right."

Looks like the folks who hand out the Pulitzer Prize are hipper than ever. Kendrick Lamar won one of the coveted awards in the popular music category for 2017's DAMN. yesterday in what is a major moment not only for the singer but for hip-hop as well.

"The time was right. We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it's supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize," Dana Canedy, administrator of the prizes, said. "It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers."

Lamar is the sole rapper to win this award — which he did unanimously, we add — since the Pulitzers began recognizing music in 1943, and is the first musician not from either a classical or jazz background. Seems like the Pulitzers are catching on more than the others.

That's because while the 30-year-old has garnered seven Grammys thus far, he's been nominated for Album of the Year three times and lost each time, first to Daft Punk (which was up against his Good Kid, M.A.A.D City), then to Taylor Swift (for To Pimp a Butterfly), and most recently to Bruno Mars (for DAMN.). Many see each of these losses as major snubs.

With DAMN. specifically, Lamar — who is responsible for the Black Panther soundtrack and known for being one of the most charitable celebs out there — was able to tackle many hot-button topics including race, faith, politics, and so much more. It's this reason that Lamar's music has been heralded as one of the most prolific Black voices in today's pop culture landscape. 

The Pulitzer voters agreed, calling DAMN. "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life."

Thus far, Lamar has remained "HUMBLE" and not responded to the Pulitzer Prize win — but we're sure he's feeling pretty DAMN. good about it.

Cover image: Tinseltown /


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