Kendrick Lamar Just Became the First Rapper to Win a Pulitzer Prize

Who needs a Best Album Grammy when you have a Pulitzer?

On Monday, Kendrick Lamar was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The rapper was given the award for his 2017 classic DAMN.

This is the first time a rapper has won a Pulitzer.

READ: Kendrick Lamar’s “Element” Owes Itself To Famed Black Photographer Gordon Parks

This is how the Pulitzer Board described DAMN. on its website:

Recording released on April 14, 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.

The board also linked to “DNA,” the second song on the album.

READ: Kendrick Lamar Reveals Original DAMN. Title, Ranks Albums in New Interview

A rapper winning the award is a radical development. This is the first time a person won a Pulitzer for music that wasn’t classical or jazz. Making things more interesting is the fact the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer was Wynton Marsalis, and that didn’t happen until 1997, for his work Blood on the Fields.

Kendrick, who was famously snubbed for an Album of the Year award at the Grammys, has not reacted to winning the award.

Dimas Sanfiorenzo

Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes in coverage centered around music, pop culture, and politics. Email:

Published by
Dimas Sanfiorenzo

Recent Posts

Justin Roiland of ‘Rick and Morty’ Has His Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed

Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland has domestic violence charges, stemming from an alleged 2020… Read More

March 23, 2023

Afroman is Being Sued By Ohio Law Enforcement After They Raided His House

Rapper Afroman is being sued by several members of Adams County Sheriff’s Office after they… Read More

March 23, 2023

Director Alain Gomis on His Illuminating New Thelonious Monk documentary, ‘Rewind & Play’

We spoke to director Alain Gomis about his stunning new Thelonious Monk documentary, Rewind &… Read More

March 23, 2023

Watch the Trailer for Upcoming Netflix Stand-Up ‘My Name Is Mo’Nique’

Oscar-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique will star in an upcoming Netflix stand-up special, which premieres… Read More

March 23, 2023

Kendrick Lamar Will Produce An Upcoming Comedy Directed by ‘South Park’ Co-Creator Trey Parker

Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free will produce an upcoming live-action comedy with South Park co-creators… Read More

March 23, 2023

The Trailer for ‘Dear Mama’ Shows the Powerful Relationship Between 2Pac & Afeni Shakur

2Pac and Afeni Shakur-focused FX docuseries Dear Mama premieres on April 21. The five-part event… Read More

March 23, 2023