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(Nigeria) Harvard Student Graduates with Honours after Submitting Rap Album as Senior Thesis

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A Harvard student has become the first in the university’s history to submit a rap album for his senior thesis. Student Obasi Shaw, who will graduate from the prestigious university next week, produced his album Liminal Minds while other classmates wrote novels, poems, and short stories.

The 10-track album is the first to be submitted as a senior thesis at the university, and weaves inspiration from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with the current race issues.

Mr Shaw was awarded a summa cum laude minus mark for his album – the second highest grade a student can receive in the department.

“[African-Americans are] free, but the effects of slavery still exist,” Mr Shaw told the Harvard Gazette. “Each song is an exploration of that state between slavery and freedom.”

Obasi Shaw was until his graduation in May, an English Major at Harvard University. He graduated with a summa cum laude minus, after he boldly delivered a 10-track rap album titled Liminal Minds as his senior thesis.

According to Lauren Bimmler, the undergraduate program administrator, in the English Department, it is the first rap album ever submitted as a senior thesis.

Senior English concentrators at Harvard often submit screenplays, memoirs, novels, a collection of poems or short stories for their creative writing thesis, but Obasi decided to be different.

“Some people don’t consider rap a high art form. But poetry and rap are very similar. Rhyming poems were very common in old English poetry,” Obasi told Harvard Gazette.

Obasi said the title – Liminal Minds – is a wordplay on the phrase Criminal Minds, which refers to the in-between state of blacks in America.

It focuses on questions of race, religion, and black identity.

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