[Media prompt] Harvard student Obasi Shaw submits rap album as his senior thesis. … [H]is album [is] a moody take on what it means to be black in America … [and] draws on Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th-century classic The Canterbury Tales and other literary works.
An Idea for the Thesis
Tyrone Williams sat in the seat of the Ford, a bloodied knife in his hand. He wiped the blade on his jeans, feeling it press against his leg. DeRay, the driver, slid sideways through an empty intersection onto East Thirty Sixth, the engine revving hard as the wheels sought traction. The car fishtailed and then straightened, and DeRay looked at Tyrone. Neither of said a word as DeRay accelerated into the darkness.
In the Forty-Fours, they called Tyrone Doc. He had skipped ahead a grade and graduated early, and was on a scholarship to Harvard. None of the others had finished high school. Most had quit attending class before they were twelve. But Tyrone was different. He was a poet of the streets. If he wasn’t killing, he was reading and writing, and the other gang members respected that. After he finished wiping the blade clean, he put his lips to the warm steel.
“Did you hear that fucker squeal?” Tyrone said, glancing at DeRay.
“Like a pig.”
Tyrone laughed. He and DeRay had been friends since the crib, and Tyrone still loved him like a brother. Tonight they had avenged a wrong, and their world was in harmony again.
“Like they always say,” said DeRay.
“The only good motherfucking Stain Alley pig is a dead motherfucking Stain Alley pig,” said Tyrone.
They both laughed, and DeRay pushed his foot down harder on the gas pedal. They swept past a low line of tract houses, light blinking like stars in a far off galaxy. Tyrone lit a cigarette, and took a note book and pen from his jacket pocket.
“Something for your thesis, huh?” said DeRay.
Tyrone nodded. He had an idea for a rap song and started to write:
“Two gangs, a vast gap in depravity,In squalid Compton, where we lay our scene…”