Student raps his way to an A
While other Harvard University students were writing papers for their senior theses, Obasi Shaw was busy rapping his.
Shaw is the first student in Harvard’s history to submit a rap album as a senior thesis in the English Department, . The album, called “Liminal Minds,” has earned the equivalent of an A-minus grade, good enough to guarantee that Shaw will graduate with honors next week.
Count Shaw among those most surprised by the success.
“I never thought it would be accepted by Harvard,” said Shaw, a 20-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. “I didn’t think they would respect rap as an art form enough for me to do it.”
Shaw describes the 10-track album as a dark and moody take on what it means to be black in America. Each song is told from a different character’s perspective, an idea inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th-century classic “The Canterbury Tales.” Shaw, who’s black, also draws on the works of writer James Baldwin while tackling topics ranging from police violence to slavery.