Kendrick Lamar Makes History as the First Rapper to Win a Pulitzer

Kendrick Lamar has already won himself a lot of acclaim for his 2017 album Damn, including the Grammy for Best Rap Album. Now he's landed himself an even bigger and more prestigious honor, however, as he's just been awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Described by host Dana Canedy 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,” Damn marks the first time a rap album has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. 

In fact, as Associated Press points out, this is the first time a non-classic or jazz artist has won the award.

The previous Pulitzer Prize for Music was awarded to experimental composer Du Yun for her opera Angel's Bone. The Public Service Pulitzer Prize for journalism, meanwhile, went to Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of The New York Times and Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker for their reporting of Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood's sexual abuse.

Watch the 2018 Pulitzer Prize announcement video below, with Kendrick's big moment at the 17:40 mark.

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Watch DRAM Get Interviewed by Puppies

When the twisted minds behind Hounded first conceived of the show, DRAM's name was circled in red at the top of our guest wish list. His buoyant personality, excellent music, and pro-dog lifestyle put him squarely in our sights—but it almost didn't happen.

Because DRAM's been busy in 2017. He opened for Kendrick Lamar on the latter's DAMN. tour, dropped a bunch of videos, released the #1HappyHoliday EP and high-profile collaborations with the likes of Trippie Redd and Playboi Carti, gifted us a deluxe version of Big Baby D.R.A.M.—the list goes on. 

So the anticipation was real by the time DRAM faced off with the puppies of Hounded (baby bulldogs this time), and the Virginia crooner didn't disappoint. They grilled DRAM on the difference between Hampton Beach and the DMV, his experiences with Kendrick, and what triggers his rage. Watch what happens in the Season 1 finale above, and look out for more of Hounded in 2018.

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Why Is Lindsay Lohan Asking Kendrick Lamar to DM Her?

Maybe Lohan finally got around to checking out ‘DAMN.’

Kendrick Lamar Reveals ‘Damn’ Almost Had a Different Title, Says He Wrote TDE Rules That Went Viral

Kendrick Lamar was up early hitting the Los Angeles radio circuit. Trickling down this morning were two interviews, one with Power 106 on The Cruz Show and one on Real 92.3 on Big Boy's Neighborhood, featuring Kendrick opening up about a number of topics. No, forreal.

Around 8:09 of the above video with Power 106, the discussion of Kendrick being “the next 'Pac” comes up, which Kendrick calls “a whole lotta weight” before saying, “Being the next 'Pac, that's something way out of my control. I want to be who I am. All I can do is take the game and the ideas and the sparks and the knowledge that he's passed on, apply them to myself and who I am, and further it for the next kid who wants to be on that stage and actually speak for something and stand for something.”

“There can only be one 'Pac,” Kendrick added. He also later mentioned that 2Pac's “I Get Around” is his favorite '90s jam, which same. Speaking of throwbacks, they asked an interesting question about the last album that Kendrick downloaded illegally (which was Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, on Napster), and for those of you wondering what Kendrick's first job was, here you go: he did a whole two weeks working security.

At the top of the interview (around 3:45), Kendrick revealed that he was the one that wrote those hilariously viral TDE studio rules, which, obviously. Apparently it spawned from the good kid, m.A.A.d. city days, with random people walking through the studio and fucking things up. Gotta keep those visitors in check!

While this was being uploaded to the internets, Kendrick was speaking to Big Boy, and mentioned a truly interesting thing: Damn was almost titled What Happens On Earth Stays On Earth, which is kind of cold but also, admittedly, kind of a long title.

Kendrick also got asked if he considers himself the “G.O.A.T” on the mic, and he kept it a buck.


#KendrickLamar says he’s the goat.. Facts or Fiction?

A post shared by DJ Akademiks (@akadmiks) on Jun 28, 2017 at 11:33pm PDT

His answer makes perfect sense: “I got to. What's the point of doing it if you don't want to be the best at what you're doing?”

Wise words from K.Dot.

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The Best Rap Verses of 2017 (So Far)

2016 was supposed to have been the crazy year for music; 2017 was supposed to be a break. But here we are, halfway through the year, and it feels like rap music is exploding. Many of the best MCs under 40—Kendrick, Future, and Drake—have released full-lengths, and no matter what you hear from the shrinking, fearful cohort decrying the rise of “mumble rap,” hip-hop is as filled with great rapping as it's ever been. This list is the peak of the year so far, the 10 verses that commanded attention, prompted multiple rewinds mid-bar, and had us quoting lines for months on ends (honorable mention to Giggs' verse on “KMT,” which fulfilled the last qualification, if nothing else). One caveat: The list couldn't be made up entirely of Kendrick verses. Here are the best verses of 2017, so far. 

  • Black Thought, “Who Want It”

    Verse: 1
    Best line: “Otis used to sing how we should try a little tenderness/But they ultra envious, crazy disingenuous like/Who need a enemy if that's what type of friend you is?”

    “I got the wordplay of Wallace, work ethic of Shakur, I was sent into the future with a message from the Moors.” Black Thought doesn’t ease into verses as much as kick in the door with them, going from zero to one hunnid instantly—then keeps the intensity all the way up, bar after bar, with internal rhymes and references flowing by so fast—”I got plans, I’m taking my revenge like Roxanne/My man swam here from Mississippi, goddamn”—you’re rewinding to the start of the first verse before the second even starts. David Banner brings it too—it is his song, after all—but you might never get that far. —Russ Bengtson

  • Joey Badass, “Amerrikkan Idol”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “So turn the kid raps loud, I'm about to spazz out/Watch out, another n**** runnin' in the White House”

    The first verse on “AmeriKKKan Idol,” the last track on Joey Badass’s All-Amerikkkan Badass lasts nearly two minutes on its own, building to a crescendo around the minute-and-a-half mark—”Got a message for the world and I won't back out/So turn the kid raps loud, I'm about to spazz out/Watch out, another n**** runnin' in the White House”—before trailing off in frustration before the chorus kicks in. When the title of your album is a nod to one of Ice Cube’s best, you’d better bring it. With this anti-white supremacy lyrical assault—”Media's got this whole thing tainted, that's all fact/Feedin' you lies like this whole thing wasn't built on our backs”—he does exactly that. —Russ Bengtson

  • Future, “Might As Well”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line:“You will never know what I was in”

    We all know that Future's life has had its valleys and peaks. But on “Might As Well” he spends less time romanticizing his rough time in the streets or providing flamboyant accounts of gluttony—instead he hopscotches over the Tarantino production, paralleling his tough past with his prosperous present.

    Due in equal parts to his clear delivery, illustrative lyrics, and self-awareness he manages to poetically portray a rags to riches story, devoid of fantasy or Mafioso cliché. In its place are bars that are honest and relatable. —Brandon 'Jinx' Jenkins

  • Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”

    Verse: 3
    Best Line: “Last request, can all producers please get paid?”

    Man, Rozay sounds so disappointed in how Birdman handles business and his words hit even harder over a beat flip of Jay Z and Beanie’s deadbeat-dad ethering, “Where Have You Been.” Birdman has been, for the most part, quiet since this track dropped. We hope he can find it in his heart to make amends with the people he hurt over the years. Still can’t get over how the Boss felt when he found out the watches were fake and the cars were rented, smfh. —Angel Diaz

  • Offset, “Met Gala”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “Get to the top and we blew the ladder up”

    It's always exciting when a recent real-life flex is flipped into a song. Offset and his Migos family storming the Met Gala just a few weeks ago was a major moment on the timeline, a nice example in a half-year full of them of just how far the Migos have come and how glorious it is to watch them shine. To hear Offset, on a track with Gucci Mane, wax poetic about it so soon after feels like breaking the fourth wall, like he read our tweets about posing with Celine Dion and said, “Yeah, I can't believe it either.” Except, with Offset, it just becomes a brilliant new shortcut for flexing. How good is life? It's Met-Gala-invitation good. —Frazier Tharpe

  • Remy Ma, “Shether”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “And to be the Queen of Rap, you gotta actually rap”

    Nicki Minaj hasn’t been able to get anything to stick since Remy Ma released “Shether.” It's not the greatest song but as a verse—well, it didn’t shake up the game for an entire weekend for nothing (and 48 hours on Twitter is the equivalent of like nine human years). —Angel Diaz

  • Kendrick Lamar, “DNA”

    Verse: 2
    Best Line: “You mothafuckas can't tell me nothin/I'd rather die than to listen to you/My DNA not for imitation/Your DNA an abomination”

    The second verse of “DNA” feels like a cathartic explosion of that side of Kendrick that we all want to see. The side that took the wheel on Big Sean's “Control,” who snapped during his BET Cypher Freestyle in 2013, and resurfaced most recently on the “The Heart Part IV.”

    On “DNA” he's boisterous and superhuman, successfully distancing himself from further from his would-be peers. You can’t be him. He’s the Neo in hip-hop’s matrix. He’s dodging bullets and pulling triggers at the same damn time.

    It's such an insane display, Mike Will had to build the beat around Kendrick's words—nothing else in his library could accommodate the barrage (and Mike is known for his massive library). This is rap as Olympic sport, but it doesn't sacrifice content for the sake of remarkable form. The verse is full of striking images (“Beach inside the window, peekin' out the window/Baby in the pool, godfather goals” and quotables (“You ain't sick enough to pull it on yourself”).

    All while Rick James cries out for marijuana. —Brandon Jenkins and Ross Scarano

  • Drake, “Do Not Disturb”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: They don't know they got to be faster than me to get to me/No one's done it successfully

    “Stylin though.” A simple and catchy opening, the sort of line Drake excels at. The casual confidence in those two words is appealing; if you saw it on the rack you’d want to try it on—it’s plain, but you think you’d look great in it. Then back home, you find it doesn’t work as well as you wanted.

    Relatability is overrated beyonds its ability to lure the listener in. It doesn’t keep butts in seats. At this point, is anyone still listening to Drake because they think their life is like his, that their struggles are similar? It’s the ghost of a feeling you occasionally glimpse but at this point we’re here for the Drake show, for his logo splashed on the sound a la mode and the rare peek behind the curtain at what his true life. That’s what “Do Not Disturb” gives you. “Stylin though/Dissin but got pictures with me smilin though.” The line is a revolving door—you think you’re in only to be spun back out to the sidewalk to spectate. He’s very good at what he does, you should pay attention. Wait for the summary. —Ross Scarano

  • Young Thug, “Sacrifices”

    Verse: 3
    Best Line: “Growing up, I was a running back/You never made me ran once (goddamn)/I got shot, sweat started running/That shit was red like Hunt (ketchup)” 

    The Young Thug that emerges about halfway into “Sacrifices,” the demure posse cut on Drake’s More Life, is one we haven’t seen before. Thug’s rapping is typically elemental, it defies categorization; explaining what Thug rapping sounds like describing the weather. On “Sacrifices,” though, Thug sounds different. Sober, surgically precise storytelling. It’s such a different flow than what fans are used to hearing that it’s tough to capture how strikingly weird the language is before Thug explodes into a Technicolor croon—the Thug we’re used to, and still thrilled by. He reins it in, later, capitalizing this new, darting rapping with his inextricably melody-laced, throaty delivery. The end result is formless impressionism, a completely new delivery from a new breed of rapper that works about as well as it sounds. It’s a triumph but, because it’s Thug, it’s impossible to say if we’ll ever hear a verse quite like it ever again. —Brendan Klinkenberg

  • Kendrick Lamar, “Duckworth”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “Because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin' life/While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight”

    Just when you think you've seen all of K-Dot's tricks, know all of the major tentpoles of his story, this motherfucker goes and ends an already impressive album by putting his entire life into a Sliding Doors, cosmic context via the intertwined biographies of the two most important men in his life. A grand destiny fulfilled that could've easily been another banal and wasted life tossed about by the caprices of cause and effect. A tale this cinematic and unbelievably true needs John Williams on the score—9th Wonder provided the web and Kenny spun it like he was Homer delivering a myth from the heavens. Best verse on the best album of the year. —Frazier Tharpe

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Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Damn’ Reaches Platinum Status in Less Than 1 Month

Kendrick Lamar's new album Damn, which hasn't even been out for a month yet, has already been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Interscope Records shared the good news Thursday:

Damn arrived Apr. 14 via Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath, and Interscope. Several weeks prior, Lamar had hinted that something big was coming at the end of his surprise single “The Heart Part 4,” which ended with the phrase, “Y’all got til April the seventh to get y’all shit together.” When that day came, Lamar didn't drop an album, but rather announced its release date.

However, any disappointments were soon forgotten when the record came out. It has been met with near-universal acclaim from critics, obsessive theorizing from fans, and stellar sales. As if that wasn't enough, every song from the album ended up on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. The Compton rapper has announced plans for a tour to support the record this summer.

Damn is the first album of any genre released in 2017 to go platinum. (J. Cole's 4 Your Eyez Only, which went platinum last month, was released in December, 2016). The platinum plaque is not Kendrick's only recent RIAA certification. Just last month, his 2011 album Section.80 went gold.

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Fan Theory Suggests Kendrick Lamar Will Drop Another Album on Easter

Kendrick Lamar's new album Damn isn't even a day old yet, but it's never too early for a conspiracy theory involving both The Matrix and an alleged resurrection. Thanks to a few Sounwave tweets and some Damn interpretations, a theory has emerged that another new Kendrick album is coming this weekend.

The leading theory, which was being heavily discussed on Reddit before making its way to XXL, begins with the events of Damn opener “Blood.” The track seemingly depicts Lamar being killed, which is where the possible resurrection theme comes in. The official release date of Damn. is April 14, i.e. Good Friday. For those not into Jesus stuff, Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated.

But what does The Matrix have to do with any of this? Well, in Sounwave's tweeted photo of Laurence Fishburne​ as Morpheus, a reflection in his glasses shows the infamous blue and red pills at the center of the Matrix story. In last month's “The Heart Part 4,” Lamar rapped “With TOC, you see the flames.” According to the Easter x Matrix theory, “TOC” is an acronym for “the other color.” Given the prominent use of red on the Damn album cover, theorists have posited that a second album (resurrection!) will be arriving soon with the color blue featured just as prominently on the cover.

Fans have continued to gather evidence, with some theorizing that Damn would be followed by an album entitled Nation.

But does all of this really mean anything? If you believe in the theory, guess you'll find out Sunday, which also happens to be the day Kendrick is headlining Coachella.

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LeBron James Previews Kendrick Lamar’s New Album ‘Damn’ and It Sounds Incredible

LeBron James is sharing previews of Kendrick Lamar's new album Damn. The previews popped up via LeBron's Instagram Story, just one day ahead of the hotly anticipated album's release. Of course, the clips are slowly but surely getting ripped and reposted to Twitter:

At the time of this writing, rips were also popping up on KanyeToThe and Streamable:

Mike Will Made-It, Sounwave, and 9th Wonder are among the producers Kendrick has assembled for his follow-up to last year's Untitled UnmasteredDamn also features collaborations with Rihanna, U2, Zacari, and more:


DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar.

A post shared by Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) on Apr 11, 2017 at 3:38am PDT

The album's first single, the Mike Will and Pluss-produced “Humble,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. “Humble” gives Kendrick his fourth top 10 single and his first in a lead role, following his appearance on Taylor Swift's No. 1 single “Bad Blood” in 2015. The track's accompanying video was directed by Dave Meyers and the Little Homies (a.k.a. Kendrick and Dave Free):

Last year, LeBron's tweeted request for Kendrick to release Untitled Unmastered was followed just days later by the album's unveiling. “I think he's great,” LeBron said of Untitled Unmastered and his admiration for Kendrick's work, according to ESPN. “It's great to have family like that and people—even in different areas, not just in sports—that you can look to and hear for inspiration and things of that nature.”

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Kendrick Lamar Revealed Title of His New Album ‘DAMN.’ Over a Week Ago

Early this morning, Kendrick Lamar casually dropped the title, album art, and tracklist for DAMN., his fourth studio album, which is due out on Friday, April 14. For those—DJ Akademiks included—who were still skeptical on if Kendrick would even be dropping an album this Friday, this appears to have silenced the naysayers. I mean, hell, the album has a title now… we should be fine, right?

Leave it to Complex News anchor/the face of the P&P Update Jinx to point out something many of us didn't even notice in Kendrick's “Humble” video.

Word? He snuck that in there EARLY! We had to investigate, and sure enough, in all of these scenes where he's on the bike, he's definitely rocking a white tee with 'DAMN' written across it.

Might be hard to see, but trust, it's there.

Kendrick Lamar
Image via YouTube

We see you, K-Dot, and we respect you. DAMN. is out this Friday and is available for pre-order on iTunes.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Argue Over Nicki Minaj/Meek Mill Breakup and Who’s Better Off on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's episode of Everyday Struggle, DJ Akademiks and Joe Budden talk about Kendrick Lamar's new album title, 'DAMN.,' along with the official cover and tracklist. Later, they give their own spin on Future's #MaskOffChallenge before debating Lil Uzi Vert's “XO TOUR Llif3” and his ongoing label issues. The guys also talk about Wale and argue whether he's still a top guy in rap.

Then, Budden and Akademiks dive deep on the Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill breakup, and battle over who actually won the breakup. To wrap things up today, Budden and Akademiks debate exactly what is a flop in the music industry in 2017 and which artists fall under that category.

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