In a break from tradition, rapper Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music, it was announced Monday.
Lamar's fourth studio album, DAMN., is the first non-classical or jazz work to win the award.
The Pulitzer board noted the album is "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that fers effecting vignettes capturing the complexity modern African-American life."
DAMN., originally called What Happens on Earth Stays on Earth, was released in April 2017 and spawned the singles "Humble," "Royalty" and "Love" ("Humble" was Lamar's first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100). The album was nominated for Album the Year and won Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards. It also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 353,000 copies in its first week (with more than 340 million streams to boot).
Lamar's prize succeeds Angel's Bone by Du Yun, "a bold operatic work that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world." which won the prize in 2017.
The members the Pulitzer Prize board, which include pressors, editors and columnists, can be seen here. The board presides over the annual judging process.
Quartet by Michael Gilbertson and Sound from the Bench by Ted Hearne were finalists against Lamar and DAMN in the music category for the 2018 prize.