Kendrick Lamar wins Pulitzer Prize for music

Kendrick LamarImage copyright Getty Images

Rapper Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music, becoming the first non-classical or jazz artist to collect the award.

The 30-year-old Californian won the prize for his album Damn released in April 2017.

Organisers said it offered “affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life”.

It follows the five Grammy awards won by Lamar in January for the same album.

Matthew Trammell of Pitchfork said of Damn: “Storytelling has been Lamar’s greatest skill and most primary mission, to put into (lots of) words what it’s like to grow up as he did – to articulate, in human terms, the intimate specifics of daily self-defense from your surroundings. Somehow, he’s gotten better.”

Guardian music editor Ben Beaumont-Thomas tweeted in response to the Pulitzer:

As well as being a critical success, Damn went platinum in the US just a month a month after its release. It has now sold more than a million copies and when streaming is included that figure rises to 3.1 million equivalent sales.

Previous Pulitzer music winners include jazz musicians Wynton Marsalis and Ornette Coleman.

The Pulitzer prize is best known for recognising US journalism, but it also gives awards for books, poetry and music.

The other two finalists in the music category were Quartet, a work for string quartet by Michael Gilbertson; and Sound from the Bench, by Ted Hearne.

Sound from the Bench is described as a “five-movement cantata for chamber choir, electric guitar and percussion that raises oblique questions about the crosscurrents of power through excerpts from sources as diverse as Supreme Court rulings and ventriloquism textbooks”.

The lead single from Damn was the track Humble:

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