Harvard University student to graduate after submitting rap album as thesis

Harvard University student to graduate after submitting rap album as thesis

A student of Harvard University, Obasi Shaw, just submitted a rap album for his thesis.

Shaw also uses the writings of James Baldwin to talk about slavery and police violence.

How lovely the feet that walk the trail of tears, Bare-soled and bloodstained, on display for their peers;Do you know how it feels-to have your history erased?

The 20-year-old student rapper spent about a year working on the project titled Liminal Minds and each of the ten songs are written from a different character's perspective.

"I don't think anything weighty rests on the fact that Ivy Leagues are taking it seriously but I do think that it's great for anybody to make rap more accessible to people", says Shaw.

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While seniors at Harvard are not required to write a thesis for their undergraduate degrees, they are required to complete one if they want to graduate with honors, which Shaw did. It focuses on black identity in America and was awarded summa cum laude minus, which is the second highest grade in the department. Shaw earned an A- as a result of submitting the work, which is enough to ensure he will graduate with honors next week. As for rap, he'll keep it as a treasured hobby. "I put together an application, submitted it and expected nothing, but here we are", Shaw said.

His thesis adviser Josh Bell termed Shaw an "artist".

'Rap is a genre in which I can say everything I want to say. Rather than write an essay or a collection of poems, his mother suggested he record an album for his thesis.

"I feel like a rapped project kind of conveys the black culture more than a set of poetry would or an even, like, a movie...." Harvard established a fellowship for scholars of hip-hop in 2013, and other schools including the University of Arizona have started to offer minors in hip-hop studies. Instead, he will be joining Google as a software engineer when he graduates. Last year Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly and Nas' Illmatic were both added to the Harvard Library to signify their cultural significance.

Take a look at Harvard University giving props where props are beyond due in the post below and many congrats to Obasi Shaw on his outstanding accomplishments!

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