Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize – Hip-Hop’s Biggest Milestones in Music History
For Black History Month this year, Rémy Martin teams up with XXL to celebrate 10 important moments in hip-hop history. Through the years, Rémy Martin has created a synonymous relationship between cognac and music culture by representing celebration and entertainment seamlessly. In honor of hip-hop’s nearly 50-year existence, host DJ Suss One, XXL Awards Board members Kendell "Sav" Freeman, Vice President/Co-Head of Urban Music at Arista Records; Sydney Margetson, Senior Vice President of Publicity at Atlantic Records; and Traci Adams, Executive Vice President of Promotion at Epic Records, revisit Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize for his DAMN. album in 2018, as a monumental milestone in the genre.
Kendrick’s fourth album, DAMN., predictably brought home numerous awards but none was more awe-inspiring than winning a Pulitzer Prize in the Music category on April 26, 2018. The LP, which also won Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards, was the first non-jazz or classical work to be recognized in the Pulitzer Prize music category in the prestigious prize’s 100-year history.
The Pulitzer board called the critically acclaimed album, "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life."
Kendrick was shocked by the honor, which he felt was long overdue for hip-hop. “It’s one of those things that should have happened with hip-hop a long time ago,” K-Dot told Time magazine in June of 2018. “It took a long time for people to embrace us—people outside of our community, our culture—to see this not just as vocal lyrics, but to see that this is really pain, this is really hurt, this is really true stories of our lives on wax,” he added. “And now, for it to get the recognition that it deserves as a true art form, that’s not only great for myself, but it makes me feel good about hip-hop in general. Writers like Tupac, Jay-Z, Rakim, Eminem, Q-Tip, Big Daddy Kane, Snoop…It lets me know that people are actually listening further than I expected.”
The lauded Compton, Calif. rapper remains the only hip-hop artist to win the award. As a sign of its impact, the triple platinum album DAMN. has spent nearly five consecutive years on the Billboard 200 chart.
Important milestones in hip-hop like this deserve recognition for years to come. As part of Black History Month, Rémy Martin and XXL will be making a donation to Black Music Action Coalition, an advocacy organization that was formed to addresses systemic racism within the music industry and reaches racial justice throughout society at large. Rémy Martin and XXL will match every additional dollar donated to BMAC during Black History Month.*
Watch DJ Suss One, Kendell "Sav" Freeman, Sydney Margetson and Traci Adams discuss Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer Prize win below.
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*Rémy Martin to match donations up to $50K, XXL to match donations up to $10K.