By Paul Burton

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – When he’s not head-down in the books, Harvard University senior Obasi Shaw is free flowing with his music.

“It’s crazy to me still that I wrote a rap album for my thesis,” Shaw said.

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Shaw, an English major at Harvard is set to graduate next week. He says his thesis rap album entitled “Liminal Minds” pulls no punches.

“The idea is that black people in America are caught between freedom and slavery. Although we are no longer enslaved, the effects of slavery still haunt us in society and in our mind,” Shaw said.

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It took Shaw a year to create, write, and mix his thesis rap album. It’s about 36 minutes long and composed of 10 songs–all with the important message about being black in America.

“The last song is hopeful, but it ends with the question about forgiveness even for a colored boy,” Shaw said.

Shaw received an “A” for the project and the first student ever to present a rap album for a thesis.  He says he hopes his work will inspire future students to express their own talents.

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“I had no idea how it was going to be received,” he said. “And I don’t know if someone else comes later that they can look back at my work.”

Paul Burton