Harvard Senior Submits Rap Album As His Thesis, Gets An A

It’s about 36 minutes long and composed of 10 songs-all with the important message about being black in America.

Harvard senior Obasi Shaw submitted the school’s first ever rap album as his senior thesis for his English honors degree.

The Atlanta native describes the project, titled Liminal Minds, as a moody take on what it means to be black in America. The topics Obasi raps about include police violence and slavery.

From rap to White House, we unstoppable.

Shaw’s thesis adviser, Harvard English lecturer Josh Bell, said Shaw is a “serious artist and he’s an incredible guy”.

As reported, a senior at the esteemed Ivy League university is not only graduating with honors this year, but is doing so with his music. Often it takes the form of a research paper, but students can apply to turn in an artistic work as a creative thesis. His mother connected the dots and suggested he record an album for his thesis. His friends supplied numerous beats, while he taught himself how to mix the tracks into a polished product. Shaw is a “serious artist and he’s an incredible guy”, Bell said.

While hip-hop culture has woven its way into academia in a plethora of ways over the years, with some rappers even inspiring college coursework dedicated to exploring their careers and influence, this year, Harvard University has a new, interesting first to acknowledge. Then he went into a studio and recorded a rap album, which he submitted to examiners.

Shaw says he hopes his album will open up doors in the music industry, but in the meantime has a job as a software engineer at Google, lined up for the Fall.

Information from the Harvard Gazette was used in this report.