Nigerian Student’s Rap Album Thesis Makes Harvard History

Michael Obasi, a modern day Baldwin.

Words By Ehimenim Agweh

Got any ideas for your senior thesis? No? Then look to Obasi Shaw who recently blew the collective minds of Harvard University’s intelligentsia with his rap album thesis. Yes, rap album.

Yesterday, the news hit the Internet of Obasi’s unconventional approach to academia. This is the first time a rap album has been submitted for a senior’s thesis. However, the university has accepted other forms such as poetry, novels and so on, so unconventional genres have always been used but Obasi’s has expanded the possibilities. His thesis rose out of a love of rap music and his mother’s great suggestion to put his hobby to work (Aren’t mothers awesome?).

The thesis which is titled Liminal Minds, is an exploration of black consciousness, themes of black living and slavery. Says the senior on his work, “Each song is an exploration of that state between slavery and freedom.” Combining inspiration from Chance the Rapper and, Geoffrey Chaucer and his own thoughts, Obasi set out to create a thesis worthy of its title. The album is timely as it has come in a time when Hip-hop is being recognized as a subject worth studying.

The album gained the admiration of his faculty. Described as an artist by his thesis supervisor, Obasi Shaw was awarded an A- for his work, the second highest grade and he will be graduating with honors .

After Harvard posted Obasi’s work on their official Instagram, the album became a hit. Some fans were even offering to buy even though Obasi has said it is free on his SoundCloud. A representative of Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records has reached out to the senior.  Hopefully, we will see more of Obasi Shaw in the coming years.

Well done, Obasi Shaw.
Featured Image Credits: Instagram/harvard

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