Kendrick Lamar’s legacy continues to grow, with his latest feat being the first hip-hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize in music.
The Pulitzer in music has a longstanding history of awarding both jazz and orchestral artists, with winners being praised for their superb composition and arrangement, their evocative content, and their music’s timeless quality. In fact, Kendrick isn't just the first rapper to win the award, he's the first non-classical or jazz artist, period.
Whether or not DAMN. is your favorite Kendrick album, it’s impossible to deny the record’s technical and emotive strengths. Moreover, in winning such a distinguished honor, we are seeing the rise of major institutions giving long-deserved validation to hip-hop as an art form.
While the Pulitzer Prize Board has no set guidelines for what makes a piece of music “distinguished,” leveling such a moniker onto hip-hop sends a powerful message to naysayers. Hopefully, other institutions continue this trend, and maybe next year, the GRAMMYs will finally get their act together.