The Rap Guide to Evolution

Filed in Science and Health by on January 7, 2012

According to the artist — this may be the first peer reviewed rap album ever.

I heard an interview (and some snippets of his work) with this artist — Baba Brinkmann — on this morning’s Living On Earth program. Mr. Brinkmann is a Canadian Geek rapper, whose previous claim to fame was a rap version of The Canterbury Tales. You can hear the interview (or just read the transcript) here. On further investigation, this work has been in progress for a couple of years and has been an Off-Broadway show for at least a year, with glowing reviews all over the place. This was developed with a scientist looking over his shoulder and keeping the science lyrics on track, hence the “peer reviewed” claim. Anyway, it is interesting and sorta fun (in a geeky way) and wonder it this might to for evolutionary biology what Schoolhouse Rock did for civics?

Performance, Feedback, Revision 2.0:


He even articulates an evolutionary purpose for bling:

GELLERMAN: In evolutionary terms, is there a role for “bling” in the rap world?

BRINKMAN: Absolutely. Yeah, bling features quite broadly in the off-Broadway show. The peacock’s tail is the classic example because if you have some kind of a flaw in your genes, or you’re, you know, not strong – then it’s impossible to grow that large of a tail and carry it around and not get killed by a predator.
So the tail is a handicap that’s an advertisement of its own cost and I think that’s what bling is as well. If you can afford to carry bling around, then it means you’re winning the game. You know, I’ll just say, anybody who looks down on bling needs to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out what their bling is – because everybody’s got bling.
Whether it’s your fashion sense, or your Harvard degree that you’re showing off that hangs on the wall or the fact that you raised a couple of kids that are whip-smart or winning at something. You know, there are a lot of things that we display to each other to try to advertise something about ourselves. And bling just happens to be the sort of symbolism that hip-hop has settled on but anything could suffice as long as it’s difficult to fake and costly and represents your resources.

GELLERMAN: You know, I don’t think I’ll ever listen to rap or look at a peacock again the same way.



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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (3)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    Very Cool. I’ve been reading a lot about evolutionary psychology lately and this was a little bit od synchronicity.

  2. pandora says:

    That was great! Thanks