For those who thought school was boring, meet A.D. Carson, a Clemson University doctoral student who produced a 34-song rap album that already has the internet going wild.
His album "Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions" explores the intersection between identity, justice, economics, citizenship and language. It seems to be resonating with listeners, too. The songs have garnered tens of thousands of YouTube views, and more than 50,000 downloads on SoundCloud.
According to Clemson University, Carson was the first student to take such a creative approach to his dissertation. Carson said it was the only way he knew he could complete the daunting task.
"Both my senior and master’s theses were on music that I’d been making, so at this point I figure, you don’t get to the one-yard line to use a metaphor that Clemson will understand and then put the ball down," he said.
At the center of his thesis, Carson hoped to look at how different voices are treated.
He said, “I’m trying to examine how an authentically identifiable black voice might be used or accepted as authentic, or ignored, or could answer academic questions and be considered rightly academic. So I have to present a voice rather than writing about a voice.”
The artist and scholar recognized that some of the lyrics might be offensive to some, but he said that type of rhetoric is needed to spur essential engagement. “Sometimes it’s difficult to find the opportunity to approach a conversation about language. Hip-hop makes it an organic engagement," he added.