Crit­i­cal dar­ling Ken­drick La­mar wins Pulitzer

The Detroit News - - Sports -

Ken­drick La­mar won the Pulitzer Prize for mu­sic Mon­day, mak­ing his­tory as the first non-clas­si­cal or jazz artist to win the pres­ti­gious prize.

The revered rap­per is also the most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful mu­si­cian to re­ceive the award, usu­ally re­served for crit­i­cally ac­claimed acts who don’t live on the pop charts.

The 30year-old won the prize for “DAMN.,” his raw and pow­er­ful Gram­my­win­ning al­bum. The Pulitzer board said Mon­day the al­bum is “a vir­tu­osic song col­lec­tion uni­fied by its ver­nac­u­lar au­then­tic­ity and rhyth­mic dy­namism that of­fers af­fect­ing vi­gnettes cap­tur­ing the com­plex­ity of mod­ern African-Amer­i­can life.” He will win $15,000.

La­mar has been lauded for his deep lyri­cal con­tent, po­lit­i­cally charged live per­for­mances, and his pro­found mix of hip-hop, spo­ken word, jazz, soul, funk, poetry and African sounds. Since emerg­ing on the mu­sic scene with the 2011 al­bum “Sec­tion.80,” he has achieved the per­fect mix of com­mer­cial ap­peal and crit­i­cal re­spect.

The Pulitzer board has awarded spe­cial hon­ors to Bob Dy­lan, Duke Elling­ton, Ge­orge Gersh­win, Th­elo­nious Monk, John Coltrane and Hank Williams, but a pop­u­lar fig­ure like La­mar has never won the prize.

His mu­sic, with songs like “Al­right” and “The Blacker the Berry,” have be­come an­thems in the wake of high-pro­file po­lice shoot­ings of mi­nori­ties.

Fi­nal­ists for the Pulitzer Prize in mu­sic were Michael Gilbert­son’s “Quar­tet,” which de­buted last Fe­bru­ary at Carnegie Hall, and Ted Hearne’s “Sound from the Bench,” a 35-minute can­tata re­leased last March.


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