Cambridge, MA

A student at Harvard University, 20-year-old Obasi Shaw, broke new ground at the Ivy League school this year by submitting his rap album as a thesis, marking the first time that’s happened in the college’s 381-year history.

Titled Liminal Minds, the album “combines elements of Middle English poetry with issues of racial identity in America,” according to the description on Harvard’s Instagram post.

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



Although Shaw plans to move on to a Seattle-based internship in software engineering, he expressed his fondness for rap music. “Rap is a genre in which I can say everything I want to say,” he said. “I’ve been writing in different capacities, but I never felt that I found my art form until I started rapping.”

Shaw graduated with honors earlier this month.

Listen to Shaw’s 10-track album below.