He joins a roll call of former winners who include Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland, but no rock, pop or rap artists - until now. "This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers", said Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes.
"We are very proud of this selection", Dana Canedy, administrator of the Pulitzer Prize told reporters after the victor was announced. Now, twenty years later, we have our first hip hop artist and popularizer of American culture. In 1997, Wynton Marsalis became the first jazz act to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. But Terrence Henderson, the record executive known as Punch from Lamar's label, Top Dawg Entertainment, acknowledged the achievement on Twitter, writing that from now on, no one should "speak with anything less than respect in your mouth for Kendrick Lamar".
The Washington Post also won the investigative reporting prize for revealing decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct against Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. The award was granted for his 2017 release DAMN.
The rapper, born in Compton, California, was hand-picked by "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler to curate an album to accompany the ubiquitously successful film, giving Lamar yet again another No. 1 effort and highly praised project.
The other two finalists in the music category were Quartet, a work for string quartet by Michael Gilbertson; and Sound from the Bench, by Ted Hearne. He is the first non-classic musician to be conferred with this honour.
Marty Baron, executive editor at the Washington Post, said in a statement: "In the end, the work of these Post journalists stands as a case study in why we need a free and independent press in this country".
Streaming services have left an indelible mark on the music industry, and the worldwide access that users today have when it comes to consuming music has greatly broadened the possibilities for collaboration and experimentation with Lamar's Overly Dedicated having been released for free online on September 23, 2010.
Past year the prize was awarded to the operatic work Angel's Bone, by Du Yun.
A University of Florida History Professor is a 2018 Pulitzer Prize victor.
'This is a special award because of rap music.