- A Harvard graduate presented a very original thesis
- He decided to record a rap album
- The young African American was awarded the second highest grade for his work
A student at one of the world’s most elite university decided to present a rap song as his final year thesis. This audacious move got him a summa сum laude minus mark!
Obasi Shaw will graduate from Harvard next week. This prestigious university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hosts some of the most talented youngsters from around the world, even if their ideas are controversial or atypical.
By submitting a rap album as thesis, Shaw has opened new boundaries. He is the first student ever to use rap music as investigation material for graduation.
The standard choice for most students is the submission of short stories, poems or even complete novels –but Shaw wanted to break that mold. He did use highly intellectual inspiration for the pieces he put together in his “Liminal Minds” compilation, which contains 10 tracks.
Shaw was inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which he mixed with modern XXI-century race issues.
"[African-Americans are] free, but the effects of slavery still exist," Shaw said in an interview for one of Harvard’s publications. He tried to convey the idea that “each song is an exploration of that state between slavery and freedom.”
Both of Shaw’s parents are also Harvard graduates. He is very familiar with Christian rap, which he often listened to while growing up. His mother came up with the original idea of using this music genre as a thesis subject matter.
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"Just watch the thrones, our people are known. For making history of the impossible. From rap to White House, we unstoppable. Jumping Jim Crow to playing Oscar roles,” he raps in one of his songs, titled Open Your Eyes.
Shaw’s plans after graduation do not include a career in music, though. He will start doing an internship at a software engineering firm –quite a separate world!
Watch this video below with Marvis: