Kendrick Lamar Becomes the First Rapper to Win the Pulitzer Music Prize

April 16, 2018, 9:18 PM UTC

Kendrick Lamar won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in music for his album DAMN., making him the first non-jazz or classical artist to win the prize.

The awards were announced on Monday, with the Pulitzer Prize board calling 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.”

Lamar’s sharp, playful, complex, socially relevant lyrics, and dynamic performances, have been lauded by critics. In addition to winning the Pulitzer for music, DAMN. received the NAACP Image Awards for outstanding album, and a Grammy for Best Rap Album.

DAMN. has seen commercial success in addition to receiving critical acclaim. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in May 2017, and according to Billboard, spent “four nonconsecutive weeks atop the list.” It is a certified multi-platinum album, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and the album has sold more than 1 million copies in traditional album sales, and overall “3.137 million equivalent album units,” according to Billboard.

Pulitzers have been awarded to popular musicians such as Bob Dylan, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, but Lamar is the first popular artist to win the prize for music, CBS reports.

Here’s the full list of Pulitzer winners.