Harvard Senior Submits Rap Album As His Thesis, Gets An A-

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Obasi Shaw poses outside the gates of Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Mass. on May 18, 2017. 

A senior at Harvard University is earning praise – and an honors degree – for his debut rap album. Harvard officials say Obasi Shaw is the first student in the university’s history to submit a rap album as a senior thesis in the English department.

Shaw is from an Atlanta suburb and describes his album as a moody take on what it means to be black in America.

The album draws on Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th-century classic The Canterbury Tales and other literary works. It received the equivalent of an A-minus grade, enough to guarantee Shaw will graduate with honors next week.

Shaw says he was surprised by the positive response from Harvard.

Rap and hip-hop have drawn growing academic interest from colleges, some of which now offer minors in hip-hop studies.