VOA Special English
Rapper Kendrick Lamar Makes History by Winning Pulitzer Prize


    The Pulitzer Prize is one of the top awards for reporting and the arts in the United States.

    The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced earlier this week. Among them was rapper Kendrick Lamar. He is the first musician who is not a classical or jazz artist to win the award. He will win $15,000.

    Lamar, 30, earned the Pulitzer for his record album “DAMN.” Judges said the album shows Lamar is an expert in music, rhythm, storytelling, and the complexity of modern African-American life.

    FILE - Musician Kendrick Lamar arrives at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards in Inglewood, California, Aug. 27, 2017.
    FILE - Musician Kendrick Lamar arrives at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards in Inglewood, California, Aug. 27, 2017.

    His music has been praised for combining hip-hop, poetry, jazz, soul, funk, and African sounds. And his works discuss issues such as blackness, street life, survival, and self-worth.

    Lamar is an unusual winner because he is a popular artist and well known to many Americans. He has already won 12 Grammy Awards from the music industry. And more than 20 of his songs have made the Top 40 play list, including a number one success with his rap song “Humble.”

    Lamar also chose the songs that appear in the film “Black Panther.”

    The Pulitzer Prize – and other awards – show Lamar has earned the respect of both the public and critics. The Associated Press says the artist has become the “voice of the generation.” Some of his songs, such as “Alright” and “The Blacker the Berry,” have become anthems at a time when Americans are discussing race relations and police violence against minorities.

    Among Lamar’s fans is the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music, Du Yun. In a statement, the Chinese-born artist said, “Freedom of expression is the height of art, and Kendrick Lamar is the embodiment of that freedom.”

    I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

    Kelly Jean Kelly wrote this story for Learning English. This report contained information from the Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.


    Words and This Story

    rappern. a performer of rap music

    rhythm – n. a repeated sound in music

    hip-hop – n. rap music; the culture linked to rap music

    funk n. music that combines rhythm and blues and soul music

    anthem – n. a popular song normally identified with a culture or subculture

    fan – n. a follower or supporter

    embodiment n. someone or something that is a perfect example of a quality or an idea