Doing this at such a young age will occasionally get children attached to a certain form of music instead of dirty rap songs.
Throughout the process, Carson has been clear and committed to his vision.” The album begins with the scratchy notes of a fiddle and banjo playing the classic Southern anthem “Dixie,” but then it slips into beat-driven hip-hop with rapid-fire lyrics and cadence that wouldn’t seem out of place on contemporary albums by Jay Z or Common.
Carson uses a diverse selection of samples throughout the album — from Aretha Franklin to the soundtrack of the movie “Django Unchained” — which he equates to the quoting of sources in a standard dissertation.
Using a music album for a dissertation, as opposed to the usual written document, has never been done at Clemson before, but Carson says it was the only way he could do it.
Carson is many things — poet, activist, and rap artist to name a few — but “typical Ph. Instead, he produced a 34-song rap album that already has the internet buzzing. The songs have garnered tens of thousands of views on You Tube, more than 50,000 streams and downloads on Sound Cloud and hundreds of thousands of hits on Facebook, all before Carson defends them as a whole to his doctoral committee Friday in the Watt Family Innovation Center auditorium.
“When I spoke to the director of the program, he knew that I was working for the Urban League and was a writer-in-residence for a university’s literary journal and doing a lot of other things.
I operated in a lot of different worlds and he said, ‘Yes, that’s what we do — that’s what we want!While rap groups preach sex and use it in their music, parents would rather have their children learn about sex in school or be the primary source of education themselves.Parents more than often will try and have their children listen to a diverse selection of music.He enlisted two childhood friends from Illinois, Blake E. The resulting music has a production value good enough to rival anything on the charts today. Before he became an assistant professor at Clemson, Kumanyika was in the hip-hop group “The Spooks,” which had several gold and platinum records in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Carson’s virtuosic musical performance and composition, his scholarly rigor and his deep literacy with African-American cultural production are all on display in his mostly completed dissertation,” said Kumanyika.At Clemson, Carson discovered that one of his professors, Chenjerai Kumanyika, just happened to be a former hip-hop musician with a Ph. Kumanyika became a mentor to Carson and provided literature and insight on theory and methodology that informed his dissertation. “The project, which has already been referenced publicly by such leading scholars in popular music culture as Mark Anthony Neal, explores complicated questions related to the art, criticism and knowledge production in the context of the ongoing problem of global racial and class hierarchies within and beyond the academy.“The central thesis of my dissertation is: Are certain voices treated differently? “I’m trying to examine how an authentically identifiable black voice might be used or accepted as authentic, or ignored, or could answer academic questions and be considered rightly academic.So I have to present a voice rather than writing about a voice.” Carson has never been one to take the path of least resistance.“I had people ask, ‘Are you doing this just to be provocative? ’ My response is ‘absolutely not.’ This is my way of being in the world,” said Carson, who speaks with effortless eloquence and cuts a cool and dignified figure in a ball cap, T-shirt and dark grey sweater with a “Reading is Sexy” badge pinned to it.“Both my senior and master’s theses were on music that I’d been making, so at this point I figure, you don’t get to the one-yard line — to use a metaphor that Clemson will understand — and then put the ball down.” Carson recorded the album in a small studio he put together in his apartment near campus, using Adobe recording software made available to all Clemson students.Throughout his childhood in Decatur, Illinois, where his father was a factory worker and his mother a caretaker for her disabled brother, Carson was more a seeker of knowledge than a dreamer of fame and fortune.“My parents divorced when I was fairly young and I have seven siblings,” he explained.