In a shocking change from tradition, Kendrick Lamar has taken home one of the most prestigious awards in the art world, on that has divided fans and critics alike.
Tradition has taken a hit at this year’s Pulitzers with the judges awarding Kendrick Lamar its music prize for his hugely successful and meaningful album DAMN that was released in April last year. Traditionally, the prize has been awarded to those in the classical and jazz categories.
The victory by Kendrick Lamar in the music category has made sure that all the other winners at this year’s awards have been overshadowed by one of music’s biggest names. This victory may just make him the biggest. The judges said that Lamar’s album DAMN captured the “African-American life” and was a “virtuosic collection of songs”.
One of those winners to be overshadowed was Andrew Sean Greer who took home the fiction prize for his book Less. Whilst his book didn’t necessarily receive the praise and celebration that others did over the past year, it was universally said to be funny and powerful ranking in Washington Post’s best for the year.
The Pulitzers were once a highly restrictive award class with even Duke Ellington being rejected an award once upon a time by the advisory board. The closest artist to Kendrick alarm in terms of the break from tradition is Bob Dylan who was given an honorary prize in 2008.
Classical composers Michael Gilberton and Ted Hearne were named as finalists in the music category for Quartet and Sound from the Bench, respectively. In other categories, Frank Bidart won the poetry prize for Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 whilst Martyna Majok won the drama prize for her work Cost of Living.
Whilst many of the prize winners at the Pulitzers often relish the help they receive from a marketing standpoint by winning the award, Kendrick Lamar is hardly on that level. The hip-hop artist and rapper has already received Grammy Awards for his last two albums.
The full list of winners can be found below:
Music: Kendrick Lamar for DAMN
Fiction: Andrew Sean Greer for Less
Biography: Caroline Fraser for her work on Prairie Fires by Laura Wilder
History: Jack E. Davis for The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea
General (non-fiction): James Forman Jr for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America
Poetry: Frank Bidart for Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
Drama: Martyna Majok for Cost of Living