Musicians Michael Gilbertson and Ted Hearne are taking their L’s like real men. The duo have come forward to address coming up short in their bid for a Pulitzer Prize and losing out to rap star Kendrick Lamar.

Gilbertson admitted he was not initially the biggest K. Dot fan but became really familiar with his work at school.

“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. … Probably “Real” from the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City [is my favorite Lamar track]. 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.” (Slate)

Hearne gave a positive take on Lamar coming out victorious with the major award.

“I don’t put too much stock in prizes, but this is a really important year because Kendrick Lamar’s music is super important to me and to a lot of people. Hip-hop as a genre has been important to me as a composer, but Kendrick’s work in particular. He is such a bold and experimental and authentic artist. He’s one of the people that is creating truly new music.” (Slate)

A Pulitzer Prize executive has provided context behind Lamar landing the game-changing award.

“The time was right,” Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, 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.” She added: “It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers.” (New York Times)

This week, everyone from Busta Rhymes to comedian Martin Lawrence have acknowledged K. Dot’s game-changing win for his DAMN. album.

POWERFUL!!! Congrats King @kendricklamar

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