Another feather in K-Dot’s cap: Lamar bestowed prestigious Pulitzer Prize


Kaylee Aguilar

Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize for his hit album Damn. His album consists of 14 songs including Lust, Pride, and Loyalty.

Akif Abidi, Staff Writer

At the age of 30 and the proud owner of 12 Grammys, prominent rapper Kendrick Lamar recently hit a milestone in the world of music by becoming the first ever non-classical or jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music on April 16 for his hit Double Platinum album, “D*MN.”.


In the history of the Pulitzer Music prize, no rap artist has ever been awarded the prestigious medal before Kendrick Lamar. The Pulitzer Prize for Music is one of America’s most premier awards, and are awarded annually for works in journalism, literature and musical composition, and is seen as a career-defining achievement by many.


The Pulitzer has grown a habit of being awarded to classical and orchestral music, which was one reason why many were amazed when a mainstream hip-hop album was handed the medal.


Self-named Cornrow Kenny, K-Dot, King Kendrick and most recently Kung-Fu Kenny, Kendrick Lamar dropped his  fourth studio album, “D*MN.”, on April 14, and went on to be his most successful work so far.


Describing ““D*MN.” as 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 Prize Board praised the element of K-dot’s storytelling skills and his ability to put his feelings into words.


Hailing from the poverty-ridden and notoriously crime-infested streets of Compton, Calif., Lamar grew up listening to Tupac, Biggie, Nas and Eminem, and first began experimenting with music in high school. Now with four critically-acclaimed albums and scores of chart-topping hits, Lamar has come a long way. The combination of his clever wordplay, catchy beats and unique voice no doubt makes him one of the most iconic rappers in recent years.


“I have been a fan since his album To Pimp a Butterfly, and I see him one of the top artists of in the rap game,” Coppell High School sophomore Anid Salam said. “I like how he talks about social issues and speaks his mind in his songs. They can sometimes be more like stories than just songs.”


Though Lamar is known for advocating and pondering over equality, black empowerment and social issues, “D*MN.” takes it to another level. Powered by a philosophical, narrative-driven voice and at times also fearless and self-confident, the album has Lamar reminiscing about his experiences and exploring his thoughts. The collection of songs explore the different aspects of religion, race, fear, social issues, and humankind, shaping it into nothing short of poetry.


“I’m not really a big K-Dot fan, but I really enjoyed “D*MN.”, a lot,” CHS junior Sid Muskara said. “The lyrical aspect of it really stood out.”          

Like many of his previous works, Kendrick Lamar immerses his listeners with masterful storytelling. “D*MN.” is essentially a tale of destiny, revolving around two characters, Anthony (aka Top Dog) and Ducky (Kendrick Lamar’s father). Their paths were destined to first cross when a gun-slinging, gang-associated Anthony was scheming to rob the KFC where Ducky worked, and most probably have ended in Lamar’s father being shot and killed in the event if Anthony had not decided to call it off. But 20 years later, destiny, having a fondness of irony, had Ducky’s son sign to Anthony’s record label, Top Dog Entertainment, to become its most valued artist.


The album holds a mix of all of the rapper’s different personalities. One faces Kung-Fu Kenny’s fearless and up-in-your-face personality in the fast-paced and catchy hits HUMBLE., ELEMENT. and DNA., and has Lamar pushing off his doubters. Whereas, one sees Lamar’s self-reflective and emotional side in FEAR., BLOOD., LOVE. and PRIDE..


The album also proved itself as a success in sales, with over 1.1 million copies sold in under a year, “D*MN.” ruled the charts. Spending four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his top songs HUMBLE., LOVE. and DNA. gathered approximately 800 million, 340 million and 385 million plays respectively on Spotify alone.


“I enjoyed “D*MN.” a lot. I think it really put in a lot of different types of music into one.” CHS sophomore Alex Patrick said. “I like the fact that Kendrick Lamar’s album won the Pulitzer [Music] prize, the album kind of represents modern music and gives it the attention it deserves.”


Since Lamar was awarded the Pulitzer Music Prize, the sales of “D*MN.” have risen 236 percent. The album sold 11,000 copies just in the week when the winner was announced, up from only 1,000 the week before.


“D*MN.” raised the standards in the music industry and stands as a prime example of how poetic rap can be.

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