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Kendrick Lamar Wins a Pulitzer Prize for ‘DAMN,’ Is First Rapper to Be Honored in Music

Kendrick Lamar during the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California.
Kendrick Lamar during the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his album DAMN on Monday, April 16.

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The Pulitzer Prize website called the album, which was released in April 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.”

Lamar, 30, made history as the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music. In the past, the award has been given to classical or jazz artists including composer Jennifer Higdon, composer Julia Wolfe and composer John Luther Adams. In addition to being critically acclaimed, DAMN won Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammys in February. He was also nominated for Album of the Year, but lost the award to Bruno Mars.

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While the rapper has yet to publicly comment on his historic win, other stars have congratulated him on the accomplishment.

“Congrats to @kendricklamar for winning a #pulitzerprize for your provocative, groundbreaking work. Keep speaking truth,” Reese Witherspoon tweeted on Monday.

The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne Tha God wrote, “Wow. I wish somebody would tell me what I can’t accomplish.”

In a second tweet, he added: “August Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Alex Haley, Toni Morrison, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Kendrick Lamar….just thinking of all the Pulitzer Prize winners I know and K Dot names sounds pretty damn good amongst them. Congrats to that brother! I’m inspired!”

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Anthony Bourdain also sent well wishes: “Congratulations @kendricklamar on your Pulitzer win.  The album was brilliant and deserves every accolade.”

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