If you do not know Kendrick Lamar then you are most likely not a fan of hiphop, or you just crawled out of a cave after hibernating for a whole decade. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is an American rapper and songwriter who was born and raised in Compton, Carlifornia. He started of being an underground rapper by the stage name K.Dot for many years, spitting bars on mixtapes till he caught the eye of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), an indie record label.
After releasing Overly Dedicated in 2010, he garnered even more attention and it was obvious he was set up for greater things. The next year he released Section 80, and by then his following had grown to the point where the creme de la creme of hip-hop had to recognize him as one of the best to ever do it. Baby steps and determination.
Last year he released his best album yet, DAMN which became one of the most streamed albums of the year, featuring acts like Rihanna and U2 and producers like Sounwave and Mike WiLL Made-It. The album addresses different themes from racism to faith to personal issues to politics and even the effects of his commercial victories. The album was nominated for album of the year at the past Grammys but he lost the category to Bruno Mars.
But all is well that ends well, and K.Dot despite not winning a Grammy, has made history by being the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize. This is the very first time in history a winner of that prize is not a jazz or classical musician. The Pulitzers were so off-limits to the hiphop genre, no one even dreamed of aspiring for it. Kendrick Lamar is officially the GOAT.
Administrator of the prizes, Dana Canedy, expressed excitement over the winner of the music category, describing it as a “big moment for the Pulitzers”. In an interview after the announcement of the winners, she said, “We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize… It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers.”
Acknowledging the achievement on Twitter, TDE’s record executive Terrence Henderson aka Punch wrote that from now on nobody should, “speak with anything less than respect in your mouth for Kendrick Lamar.” Kendrick himself has not yet commented publicly on the win, but it is obvious he’d be proud as a peacock for the achievement and win for hiphop and the black community.