DAMN., the fourth album and culture-resounding manifesto by Kendrick Lamar, has earned him the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for music. His win is also a significant one for hip-hop since it’s the first time an artist not operating in the jazz or classical mode has clinched it.
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) April 16, 2018
In a recent statement to Billboard, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy acknowledged the primacy of hip-hop as an artistically and socially potent means of discourse, its place of prominence in the zeitgeist and Kendrick’s commitment to deliver some of the best, most meaningful material in the canon: “I don’t know specifically what the piece was, but in this case they were considering a piece of music they felt had hip-hop influences and said, ‘Well if we’re considering a piece of music that has hip-hop influences, why aren’t we considering hip-hop?’ And someone said, ‘That’s exactly what we should do.’ And then someone said, ‘We should be considering Kendrick Lamar’ and the group said ‘absolutely.’ So then, right then, they decided to listen to the entire album and decided ‘This is it'”.
This is truly a fitting and meritorious assessment of how compelling a presence hip-hop casts on pop cultural consciousness. Kendrick, we salute you.