In the span of 30 to 40 years hip hop has transitioned from an underground thing to something that was mocked as a fad to a inescapable part of pop culture that is now considered worthy of academic research. But let's be honest, why in 2017 would recording a hip hop album to satisfy the requirements of a dissertation be considered odd or a gimmick by some?
Dissertations and thesis projects have been written about Star Trek, Harry Potter, the effects of the Big Brother reality TV series on society, Lady Gaga, the effects of country music on suicide rates in cities among other things, and so forth. To obtain fine arts degrees you have to shoot a thesis film, put together an art exhibition or a portfolio, write a novel or a collection of poetry among other things. It all depends on the university.
Respect to the soon to be Dr. A.D. Carson for creating the streaming hip hop album "Owning My Masters". May many more young people be inspired to see academia as much more than a collection of articles published in journals.