In a perfect career move, the Ph.D student who rapped his dissertation is now a professor of hip-hop. A. D. Carson graduated from the University of Clemson with a Ph.D in rhetorics, communication and information design in 2017 and made headlines by releasing a 34-track entitled “Owning My Masters: The Rhetoric’s of Rhymes and Revolutions.”

Carson’s official title at the University of Virginia will be University of Virginia as Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop and the global south.

While Carson’s alma mater was sure to soak up as much good press as possible for his ingenuity and their willingness to work with him, he’s more than willing to point out what he feels is the truth of the situation. Specifically about the school’s attempts to exploit his efforts and history of exhibiting the same racism found in much of America’s higher educational institutions.

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“Being in the climate that is Clemson University really helped to push forward the thoughts I was having and how I would present my work,” he told the Independent Mail. “My life every day in Clemson—the dissertation is kind of like a metaphor for that.”

Criticizing Clemson is far from new for Carson, though. He was a vocal activist while enrolled and was even arrested during a sit-in protesting injustice on campus.

“Being detained out in front of Sikes, then to have Clemson tweeting and posting on Facebook about this “innovative dissertation project’…it was really a surreal moment,” he said.  “Just a year ago it seemed as though the institution had taken a stance against me and now the institution is championing this work. They’ve taken a certain credit for it.”

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