Hot “Damn”! On April 16 Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy announced the winners of the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes, which were established in 1917 to honor the best in journalism, literature, drama and music. Administered by New York’s Columbia University, the Pulitzers made history this year by awarding Kendrick Lamar for his album “Damn” in the music category. He’s the first rap artist ever to win the award, which usually goes to classical or jazz compositions — as a reminder, the Grammys went with Bruno Mars. Watch the complete announcement above.
The Pulitzers called “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.” It lost the Grammy for Album of the Year to Mars’s “24K Magic” earlier this year, but it nevertheless won five trophies for Lamar: Best Rap Album; Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Loyalty” (with Rihanna); and Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Music Video for “Humble.”
But the Grammys remain resistant to rap music in the general field. None of Lamar’s 12 victories to date have come in the top categories. Thus far only one rap album has ever won Album of the Year (“Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by OutKast in 2004), and no rap songs have ever won Record of the Year or Song of the Year. Meanwhile, two rap songs have won Best Original Song at the seemingly more conservative Oscars, and now rap has even won a historic Pulitzer Prize. It’s a sign of the times as more contemporary music is being recognized for its greater cultural significance, which we also saw in 2016 when Bob Dylan was the surprise winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for his songs.
But one has to wonder if hip-hop music could win a Nobel, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Kennedy Center Honor (no wait, that happened already) before the recording academy decides that the genre is in the same league as Taylor Swift.
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) April 16, 2018