The music world is still trying to process how Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. won the Pulitzer Prize for Music, considering it has been rare that anything besides classical or jazz music have been awarded in times past. The two finalists for the prize who lost to the Compton superstar certainly aren’t sour about it and say they’re also K-Dot fans to boot.
Composers Michael Gilbertson and Ted Hearne, who were up for the Pulitzer Prize for Music, sat down with Slate to discuss this watershed moment. Gilbertson, 30, was nominated for his work Quartet. Hearne, also in his 30s, was given the nod for his work, Sound From The Bench. Sitting down with Slate for an interview, the gentlemen showered heavy praise towards Kendrick Lamar’s award win with no sign of hard feelings.
This year’s Pulitzer winner was also very political. Are you a fan of Kendrick Lamar?
Gilbertson: I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I am a fan of his music. I remember when I was at Yale, I heard some other grad students give a talk on some of the theological and conceptual narrative depth in his work, and I was really struck by that. It changed the way I listen to his music. I’m really a fan of his work.
What’s your favorite Kendrick track?
Hearne: I love “Feel” so, so much. Incredible poetry, incredible groove, love his use of sampling, love the burst of intensity and the way he f*cks with time near the end of the track.
Gilbertson: Probably “Real” from the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. There are many things I like musically, but I particularly love the refrain: “I do what I wanna do, I say what I wanna say, when I feel, and I look in the mirror and know I’m there.” I grew up a gay kid in Iowa, and it was tough. Music got me through the hardest times. Those words really speak to me.
Check out Slate‘s full chat with Michael Gilbertson and Ted Hearne here.