Robert Frost. Harper Lee. George Walker. Julia Wolfe. Ben Taub. The list of Pulitzer Prize winners extends back decades, a reflection of the talented individuals who have achieved greatness in categories like journalism, novels, and music. Adding his name to the list of Pulitzer Prize winners is rapper, Kendrick Lamar, who is the only musician outside of the classical and jazz genres to have received this notable award. Lamar’s lyrics, which often act as a medium for political and social commentary, have consistently kept him at the forefront of the rap scene. Bringing his powerful lyrical messages back to the stage, Lamar has recently announced a one-time show entitled “The Pop Out — Ken and Friends” that comes to Los Angeles on June 19th. 

Beyond his Pulitzer Prize win in 2018, Lamar has been the recipient of various accolades, including one Primetime Emmy Award, one Brit Award, four American Music Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, and a staggering 17 Grammys. But these awards are not without their merit. 

It is the messages and commentary behind the lyrics Lamar writes that have helped propel him toward being recognized as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Lamar’s artistic ability to dive into emotional storytelling via verse and pull back the curtain on racial injustice, allowing new marginalized perspectives to take center stage, has opened a doorway for listeners across the globe to finally feel seen. 

Understanding more intimately how issues like gun violence, racial and socio-economic discrimination, institutional racism, sexual abuse, and mass incarceration are still prevalent in American culture, Lamar has consistently utilized his platform to not only raise awareness of the social injustices marginalized communities still face but to also praise these communities for their strength and resilience. Yet, while many listeners recognized Lamar as the voice of Black America, not all players in the game show the same respect for the rapper.

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Most recently, a buzz has been stirring over the lyrical death battle between Lamar and Canadian rapper, Drake. While the hip-hop battle saw the two rappers lashing out at each other’s physical appearances and talent, when Drake’s song, “Family Matters,” hit, the heat skyrocketed. Bringing Lamar’s family into the battle was the climax of this heated feud, leading to a bewildering, lyrical blade response from Lamar just an hour after Drake’s song dropped—Meet the Grahams. 

Yet, it was “Not Like Us” that solidified Lamar’s lyrical victory, a club banger that inspired the title of Lamar’s June 19th show, “The Pop Out.” In “Not Like Us,” Lamar raps, “Sometimes you gotta pop out and show n—s / Certified boogeyman, I’m the one that up the score with ’em.” This nail-in-the-coffin jam has continued to climb the top of the charts today, arguably one of the best tracks released in the rap battle.

Fresh off the battle scene, Lamar’s one-time LA show on Juneteenth is presented by pgLang and Free Lunch. Presale tickets for the concert at the Kia Forum hit the market on Thursday at 10 a.m. PT via the Cash App, while the general on-sale starts Friday at 10 a.m. PT on Ticketmaster. The event is for all ages according to the rapper on his social media profiles, and will begin at 4 p.m. PT.