If Nas ever feels the need to brag to his hip-hop peers, he now has something they definitely don’t: a Harvard fellowship named in his honor. Today, the Hiphop Archive and W.E.B. Dubois Foundation at the Ivy League university announced the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship, which will assist students with “exceptional capacity for productive scholarship and exceptional creative ability in the arts” in connection with the genre.
“In my rollercoaster of a life I’ve endured good and bad for sure, and I’ve truly been blessed to have achieved so much thru art in my short life thus far. But I am immensely over-the-top excited about the Nasir Jones HIP-HOP Fellowship at Harvard,” Nas said. “From Queens, NY to true cultural academia. My hopes are that greed for knowledge, art, self-determination and expression go a long way. It is a true honor to have my name attached to so much hard work, alongside great names like Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois and to such a prestigious and historical institution, and all in the name of the music I grew to be a part of.”
The rapper’s selection had to be approved by a Harvard faculty committee, so one wonders how many Illmatic fans are currently teaching there. According to a press release, Nas was specifically chosen because “his lyrical skill, social analysis and commitment, has helped usher in an original form of hiphop debate and analysis that reflects on and represents urban youth angst and conflict as well as intelligence, confidence and ambition… He has tackled both intense political issues and hardcore street topics. In doing so, he has inspired a generation.”
To keep up with his former rival, Jay-Z will reportedly buy Yale.