Kendrick Lamar Joins Legendary Pulitzer Prize Winners


John Steinbeck, Harper Lee and William Faulkner are just a few top-notch writers on the exclusive list of Pulitzer Prize recipients.  This award is the culmination of years of dedication and diligence in their craft. And now, beloved rapper Kendrick Lamar will be added to this list of first-rate professionals for his latest album and overall contribution to music.

While Lamar could not receive this award in person, that does not undermine its significance and influence. Since the Pulitzer’s expansion into music in 1943, only jazz or classical musician’s have received the award, making hip-hop mogul Lamar the first artist of his genre to win.

This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers

— Dana Canedy

“The time was right,” Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, said in an interview after the winners were announced. “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.”

Canedy also stated that the board’s decision was unanimous. The board called the album “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”

Unfortunately, Lamar’s achievement has faced much criticism from classical musicians and composers, who feel as though their work and talent was undermined. Many took to Facebook to voice their grievances.

“What’s next, a Nobel Peace Prize in literature for Eminem?” one hater wrote.

Thankfully, others have taken the news more positively and congratulated Lamar for breaking barriers and broadening horizons in the musical world.

“It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way,” Canedy said.” This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers.”

As the only hip-hop artist in a list of classical composers, Lamar joins an elusive club of artists whose life has been dedicated to their craft. While not traditional, this decision honors one who works just has hard as previous winners and who has quickly become a legend not only in his genre, but in music overall.