Nas is a legend in the hip-hop game and now the Illmatic creator is being recognized for his work in another field — social justice. The 42-year-old rapper received the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard University on Wednesday (Sept. 30), becoming the first hip-hop artist to do so.

The award, named after the highly revered civil rights activist, celebrates individuals who contribute to the efforts to achieve human rights for all. It is also one of Harvard’s highest honor.

The “If I Ruled The World” rhymer, decked out in a suit for the ceremony, was joined by professors, students and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. But it was the children that Queensbridge, N.Y. native had on his mind.

“These are the things the kids need to see. The real things,” he said during his acceptance speech. “This is a light I want on me. I hope that I can be a great role model for those kids…you can be more than the typical image of rap.”+

Mr. Jones later went to Instagram to share his excitement on the prize.

A Young Harvard

A photo posted by Nasir Jones (@nas) on

Dinner with the professors Marcyliena Morgan & Lawerence Bobo #harvard A photo posted by Nasir Jones (@nas) on

Understand the Cipher

A photo posted by Nasir Jones (@nas) on

A photo posted by Nasir Jones (@nas) on