Clemson University doctoral student A.D. Carson is turning in a 34-track rap album he produced instead of writing a dissertation.
A.D. Carson is studying for a Ph.D through Clemson’s Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design (RCID) program. But, instead of writing a dissertation, he is turning a what is damn near a double album, with no features.
His album, Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes & Revolutions, is a multimedia project that features songs that he produced and raps on, as well as music videos. The tracks can be heard and seen on Soundcloud and YouTube.
“It’s a rap album that is the text of the dissertation,” he says in a video explaining his vision. “Rather than it be about rap or spoken word, it’s actually done through those modes of presentation.”
Carson also wants to introduce the idea of presenting Hip-Hop on college campuses by actually rapping. He compares the notion of non-rapping teachers teaching about rap, to raw uncut dope getting stepped on. That’s an ill metaphor, word to Raekwon’s “purple tape.”
“That’s not to say that their contributions aren’t valid or even should be discarded,” he adds. “I’m just saying I want to add something to the conversation, from being a participant in the Hip-Hop world as well as being a participant in the academic world.”
Each of the songs are designed to get a message across, so don’t expect any dance songs or club anthems. But, don’t think that doesn’t mean they don’t sound modern or comparable to what’s hot.
On his song “Familiar,” Carson, who raps under the name A.D. The Great, hops on a trap beat and compares the lynchings from centuries ago to the police shootings of today.
Check out how he explained it to Clemson’s campus paper The Newsstand:
“[Trap is] not just a style of music, it speaks to the circumstance the people who make it might be in…The form of the song is imitating Langston Hughes’ ‘Dream Variations,’ a poem that has two stanzas that are very close to one another, and the content is informed by James Baldwin’s idea that Americans are trapped in history and history is trapped in us. So think about using this rap form called trap that originates in the South in a song where you don’t know if the verses are the present or the past. It’s subtle but it works on a lot of different levels.”
Carson is set to present his album to the doctoral committee this Friday, February 24. But people are already sharing the songs on social media. Listen to the entire album below. Also, be sure to peep his Youtube channel.
If you’re near Clemson University, he’s inviting you to see him get down.