With a slew of platinum-selling and critically acclaimed albums to his credit (although after being nominated for more than 13 separate GRAMMY awards, he has yet to take a single one home), Nas is no stranger to accolades. But his latest achievement is both academic and honorary in nature.
According to Rolling Stone, Harvard University’s Hip-Hop Archives and W.E.B. Du Bois Institute have created the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, which will “fund scholars and artists who show productive scholarship and creative potential in the arts in connection with hip-hop.”
“I am immensely over-the-top excited about the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship at Harvard. From Queens, NY to true cultural academia,” Nas said in response to the fellowship. “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.”
Harvard’s Hip-Hop Archive was established in 2002 under the direction of Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and the director of the Hip-Hop Archive and Research Institute. According to their mission statement, the Archive “organizes and develops collections, initiates and participates in research activities, sponsors events and acquires material culture associated with hip-hop in the U.S. and throughout the world.”
“Nas is a true visionary, and he consistently shows how boundaries can be pushed and expanded to further the cause of education and knowledge,” Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, said. “The work of the Du Bois Institute is enriched by the addition of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship.”
GRAMMY-award winning producer and DJ 9th Wonder was previously honored with a hip-hop fellowship in 2012.