The award panel said Grandmaster Flash, born Joseph Saddler, is "rightly heralded as a hip-hop virtuoso," and "one of the first to manipulate music by placing his fingers on the vinyl." It cited Grammy Award-winning Mutter for being "a musical phenomenon," playing with "virtuosity and astonishing clarity."
The panel said the Playing For Change Foundation, which runs music programs in developing countries, brings "peace to the world through music." The winners will each receive a cash prize of 1 million kronor ($107,000). The award ceremony is in Stockholm on June 11.
Grandmaster Flash said it was an honor to receive the prize. "In our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked," he said. Mutter was "deeply honored and humbled." Whitney Kroenke, co-founder of The Playing For Change Foundation, said it was "mind-blowing."
"We started the project so that musicians that would not otherwise be seen or heard, would have the chance to express themselves and be recognized," she said. The award, founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, has been handed out every year since 1992.
Often called the Nobel Prize of music, it is Sweden's biggest music award and is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician. Previous laureates include artists Sting, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, bands including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Metallica, and conductors Pierre Boulez and Mstislav Rostropovich.