Kendrick Lamar Accepts His Pulitzer Prize

Kendrick Lamar has a new nickname: Pulitzer Kenny.

Last month, Kendrick’s DAMN. was named the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for music, making him the first rapper to win the award — and the first non-classical or jazz musician to win the award, period. Last night, he acknowledged the honor during his show at New York’s Madison Square Garden by performing in front of a “Pulitzer Kenny” backdrop. And today, he accept the award during a luncheon at Columbia University.

“We’re both making history,” said Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy as she shook Kendrick’s hand upon his arrival. And upon accepting the award, Kendrick received a standing ovation from the crowd. “It’s an honor,” he said. “Been writing my whole life, so to get this type of recognition, it’s beautiful.”

The Pulitzer Prize board, which unanimously decided to bestow the award upon DAMN., called the 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.”

“The time was right,” Canedy said in an interview after the winners were announced. “We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.”

Find photos from the luncheon below.