Kenderick Lamar made history by becoming the first hip-hop album to win a Pulitzer Price for music. Lamar is now not only the first person to win a Pulitzer for a hip-hop album but the first person to win a Pulitzer for any music that’s not classical or jazz. The Pulitzer for music generally goes to contemporary classical music
Announcing the prize, the Pulitzer board called “Damn”, “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 Pulitzer for music is overwhelmingly homogeneous not only in the genres it recognizes but also in the race and gender of the musicians it honors. No woman won the award until 1983, and no African American won until 1996.
Lamar’s win is in some ways a vindication of a series of reforms that the Pulitzer Prize Board enacted between 1996 and 2004.