The Harvard grad will make his album available for free.
With universities wrapping up another year and graduates looking towards the future, perhaps no one had a more memorable final chapter scholastically than Obasi Shaw.
The Ivy League student will be graduating with honors after submitting a 10-track rap album as his final thesis. He's the first-ever student to do so in Harvard's illustrious history.
Titled Liminal Minds, Shaw spent a year writing the project. Each song is told from the perspective of a different character, supposedly inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It focuses on black identity in America and was awarded summa cum laude minus, which is the second highest grade in the department.
This is not the first moment of recognition that Harvard has bestowed upon the hip-hop genre. Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp A Butterfly, as well as Nas’ Illmatic, were both added to the Harvard Library in an "acknowledgement of their cultural significance."
You can listen to the album here and view Harvard's Instagram post about Shaw below.
Obasi Shaw '17 submitted Harvard's first rap thesis, "Liminal Minds," which combines elements of Middle English poetry with issues of racial identity in America. “[African-Americans are] free, but the effects of slavery still exist," says Shaw. "Each song is an exploration of that state between slavery and freedom.”⠀ ⠀ After graduation, Shaw will move to Seattle for a one-year internship in software engineering. As for rap, he’ll keep it as a treasured hobby. “Rap is a genre in which I can say everything I want to say,” Shaw said. “I’ve been writing in different capacities, but I never felt that I found my art form until I started rapping.”⠀ ⠀ #Harvard #Harvard17