Lamar is the first non-classical or jazz artist to win the prestigious prize
Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer prize for music Monday for Damn., also a Grammy winner this year.
In awarding the prestigious prize, the Pulitzer committee cited the album as ‘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 is the first rapper to win a Pulitzer, and Damn. is the first non-classical or jazz work to win the award.
‘Encompassing 14 tracks and 55 minutes, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is not an album that can be categorized on its first listen.
‘But, thankfully for fans, Lamar’s fourth studio album…is worth the time it takes to unpack. DAMN. ditches the rap-opera construction of Lamar’s 2012 album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and the politically urgent jazz of 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly, seeing the rapper meditate on relationships with his family, community and newfound fame.
‘Lamar isn’t pulling political punches, singling out Fox News and President Trump as his targets. But the album is most interesting when Lamar is grappling with the repercussions of success.’
Damn. won the best rap album at the Grammy awards in January. Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, the comic story of a middle-aged novelist, won the fiction prize. The Pulitzer committee described it as ‘a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.’
Greer won out over such favorites as Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.
Andrew Sean Greer, author of ‘Less,’ winner of the The awards were given out Monday at an announcement at New York’s Columbia University.
The drama prize went to Martyna Majok for Cost of Living. Prairie Fires, a life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser, won for biography. Fraser was praised for her ‘deeply researched and elegantly written portrait.’
James Forman Jr.’s Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America won for general non-fiction.
Jack E. Davis’ The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea won for history. The Pulitzer committee called it ‘an important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico.’
Frank Bidart’s Half-Light was the poetry winner.