June 23, 2018 / 5:52 PM

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Nas 2013: 'Illmatic' Rapper Has Harvard Fellowship Established in His Name


A lot of rappers have brought home Grammys, but how many can say that an Ivy League University has endowed a fellowship in their name? Nas may have not won his first Grammy yet (although he's had 13 nominations), but at least he's the namesake for the new Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship at Harvard University. 

The award will specifically apply to students who demonstrate exceptional capacity for productive scholarship and exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hiphop." The Hiphop Archive is a program within the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, a research center dedicated to the study of African and African-American culture at Harvard. 

Nas has gained renown for his political and ethically-tinged rap since his debut with "Illmatic" in 1994. His interest in the African roots of African-Americans has always been evident, but has picked up even more steam in recent years, particularly with the album "Distant Relatives," which he performed with Ziggy Marley, the son of reggae icon Bob Marley. Marcyliena Morgan, a professor of African-American and founder of the Hiphop Archive studies at Harvard explained why Nas was a ideal candidate for the the honor. 

"Having welcomed artists including Ninth Wonder and scholars including Mark Anthony Neal, the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute is uncompromising in our commitment to build and support intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that reflects the rigor and achievement of Hiphop performance," she said. "With the introduction of the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship, we will continue to be the leading resource for those interested in knowing, developing, building, maintaining, and representing Hiphop." 

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