DAMN., Kendrick Lamar is the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music

He's set to play Tampa on May 22 and defeated two other composers to win the award.

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click to enlarge Kendrick Lamar, who plays MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida on May 22, 2018. - Keenan Hairston c/o Rolling Loud
Keenan Hairston c/o Rolling Loud
Kendrick Lamar, who plays MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida on May 22, 2018.

On May 22, Top Dawg Entertainment's "Championship Tour" is set to touch down in Tampa with Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and more in tow.

That bill now includes a Pulitzer Prize winner as well.

On Monday, the Pulitzer board announced that Lamar's fourth studio LP, DAMN., has won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. As Rolling Stone points out, the 30-year-old rapper from Compton, California is the first non-classical or jazz artist to achieve the honor. 

Kendrick Lamar makes a DAMN. statement

On its website, 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."

Lamar (who last played Tampa in September) beat out two American composers — Michael Gilbertson (nominated for "String Quartet") and Ted Hearne (nominated for his 35-minute cantata for chamber choir, "Sound From The Bench").

Lamar's prize "For distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year" is $15,000.

Past winning works include an operatic work about human trafficking in the modern world (Angel's Bone, by Du Yun, 2017), an coal-mining themed oratorio for chorus and sextet (Anthracite Fields, by Julia Wolfe, 2015) and an orchestral work that evokes thoughts of global warming (Become Ocean, by John Luther Adams, 2014).

We're willing to bet that Kendrick donates the prize to charity.

Watch a video of Lamar visiting High Tech High School in New Jersey — and get more info on his Tampa show — below.

The Championship Tour
w/Kendrick Lamar/SZA/Schoolboy Q/Ab-Soul/Jay Rock/SiR/Lance Skiiwalker
Tue. May 22, 8 p.m. $27 & up.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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