A Harvard student has become the first in the university’s history to submit a rap album for his senior thesis.
Obasi Shaw who is of a nigerian descent will graduate from the prestigious university next week, produced his album Liminal Minds while other classmates wrote novels, poems, and short stories.
The 10-track album is the first to be submitted as a senior thesis at the university, and weaves inspiration from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with the current race issues.
Mr Shaw was awarded a summa cum laude minus mark for his album – the second highest grade a student can receive in the department.
“[African-Americans are] free, but the effects of slavery still exist,” Mr Shaw told the Harvard Gazette. “Each song is an exploration of that state between slavery and freedom.”
The Atlanta-born student was taught at home by both of his Harvard graduate parents, and credits his mother with the idea of creating a rap thesis.
Mr Shaw grew up listening to Christian rap, and started to listen to more well-known rappers such as Kendrick Lemar and Chance the Rapper only two years ago.
He was inspired by the rappers’ treatment of race, black identity and religion.
Mr Shaw said: “Some people don’t consider rap a high art form, but poetry and rap are very similar.
“Rhyming poems were very common in old English poetry.”
Mr Shaw is not pursuing a career in music, and after graduating plans to intern for at a software engineering firm in Seattle.
Nevertheless, he will continue rapping as a hobby.
Culled from The Telegraph