Kendrick Lamar has won a Pulitzer Prize in music for his album, DAMN., becoming the first non-classical or jazz artist to win the award. His album, DAMN–makes Kendrick Lamar the first rapper to win a Pulitzer and the first non-classical, non-jazz album to win the Pulitzer. Kendrick Lamar is now not only the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for a hip-hop album, he is also the first person to win a Pulitzer Prize for any kind of music that is not classical or jazz. In honor of the almost 50-year history of hip-hop, presenters DJ Suss One, Kendells board member at XXL Awards, Sav Freeman, vice president/co-head of urban music at Arista Records; Sidney Margetson, senior vice president of publicity at Atlantic Records; and Traci Adams, executive vice president of promotion at Epic Records, look back at the time that Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for his damned.

Kendrick Lamar 1

Kendrick Lamar

The award was the first time a Pulitzer Prize for Music went to a music work outside of classical and jazz, marking a watershed moment for the Pulitzer Prize board and for the Grammy Award, and Tracey Adams, Executive Vice President of Promotion at Epic Records revisits Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN. The award was the first Pulitzer Prize for Music. The victory was the first to go to a musician not in classical music or jazz since the prize began including music about 75 years ago. This time around, the Pulitzer Board of Governors decided to give the honors also to Kendrick Lamar, and not just any idiom, hip-hop, a genre which has been unapologetic, if not brash, about the viability of hip-hop itself. That it is also the first Pulitzer-winning work that can be considered to pop is all the more notable, and only goes to show how drastically Lamar has distorted the boundaries of pop.

Still, awards like these always signify a look at a whole artists body of work, and for Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, it seems probable the panel was impressed with his use of jazz textures and instrumentals–familiar territory to Pulitzers–on songs like this from 2015s To Pimp A Butterfly. Yet by picking the Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, it is not like the Pulitzer panel is simply throwing the award at whatever major-moving figure they pull out of the hat. It is important to note how much the surprise Pulitzer awarded Lamar is both more and less sweeping than the Nobel Literature surprise with Bob Dylan. Describing his album DAMN as a virtuosic body of songs united by their vernacular truthfulness and rhythmic vitality, offering poignant fragments capturing the complexities of contemporary African-American life, the Pulitzer panel applauded Kendrick Lamars narrative talents.

Kendrick Lamar And The Rise Of The Warriors

I m able to easily tell you Kendrick Lamars song, Me, I am Dying of Thirst, is one of the best songs to come out of hip-hop over the past couple years, and because I love grand statements, I may as well give it the decades. Vivian Gornick, though, could have written as easily about emotional dead-ends found within hip-hop. A couple months back, when Kendrick Lamar released Richard Wrights Black Boy, he titillated every critic that was paid good money to not be overly excitable. Just as his stunning chart success brought Drakes pop to the mainstream, it also fed the chorus of naysayers who would not embrace him as one of the greatest, be that in the company of past heroes such as Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, or in-the-moment icons like Kendrick Lamar, Future, and Young Thug.

Yet, despite — or perhaps because of — these preferences, Kendrick Lamar has built a following, and a massive one at that — that may well make him a potential shifter in the hip-hop mainstream. Kendrick Lamar is young enough to idolize the Golden Age of Hip-Hop, naive enough to indulge in unabashed hero worship, fanboy enough to have put Mary J. Blige and MC Eiht over Richard Wrights Black Boy. Juice WRLDs association with Top Dawg Entertainment, a label to which he has been signed since his early teens, predates the existence of Top Dawg Entertainment.

Lamars debut album, was released on October 22, 2012. Under the new agreement, Lamars projects, including his albums Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, will be released in conjunction with Top Dawg, Aftermath Entertainment, and Interscope Records. Like The Warriors, Kendrick Lamar has been somewhat absent from his latest project since this past headline, but has been making an appearance again in May, with Mr. Morales and The Big Steppers.

Kendrick Lamar is the eighth man on this list, having dropped his album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers in June, following a five-year hiatus. Lamar dropped his last album of the year while the Golden State Warriors returned to the NBA Finals. Kendrick Lamar has subsequently gone on hiatus, coinciding with a injury-plagued year for the Warriors.

In each of the franchises three title runs, Lamar released an album at least a couple months before the team finished the season as champions in June. Well, the fact the Warriors made it to the NBA Finals in the very same year that Kendrick Lamar dropped the album is a promising sign for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, et al.

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