Rap Thesis Awarded Honours at Harvard - Hashtag Legend

#culture /entertainment


Rap Thesis Awarded Honours at Harvard

May 26, 2017

Obasi Shaw (photo by Jake Belcher, Office for the Arts at Harvard University)

Obasi Shaw, a Harvard University graduand, submitted his senior thesis in English Literature as a rap album. The project, the first of its kind in the school's history, was awarded a summa cum laude minus, the second highest possible grade.

Obasi’s 10-track album Liminal Minds focuses on race issues. As he told the Harvard Gazette, each song is an exploration of that state between slavery and freedom. He criticises racial politics in the American society and takes inspiration from both classic literature like Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and sociopolitical commentary from Chance and Kendrick.

In a Virgil Abloh-esque way, Obasi uses easy-to-understand aesthetic to deliver his simple yet powerful ideas. Abloh uses his fashion to promote his esoteric ideals the same way Shaw uses rap. Both are bringing something new to the table and are acting as role models for a new era of millennials.

Despite his album's academic praise, Shaw has no plans to pursue rap professionally. The young artist reportedly has a job lined up with Google after graduation.

Check out the full ten-track album on Soundcloud, and read more about Obasi Shaw on the Harvard Gazette.

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Justine Wong