UVic grad and rap artist Baba Brinkman returns to Victoria with unique brand of academic hip hop performance.

Darwin and Chaucer, via rap

Baba Brinkman translates literature, science for the hip-hop masses

Baba Brinkman sings a few bars to Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize – the perfect example of the meta-marriage between form and content in The Rap Guide to Evolution, one of Brinkman’s five hip hop shows that break down complex topics into remixes of popular rap songs.

“Doing a rap performance in a highly effective and sophisticated way has a direct impact on the psychology of prospective mates and that’s exactly what you would expect if you were describing a sexually-selected behaviour,” says the New York-based rapper, University of Victoria grad and playwright. “A peacock could be writing exactly the same song about his tail that Biggie wrote about his rap skills.”

It’s rap about the origins of rap, as the product of evolution, demonstrated through a performance which also communicates the gist of the theory – or what Brinkman calls “meta rap,” for its uber meta-qualities.

Next Wednesday, Brinkman, who graduated with a masters in English from UVic in 2003, will return to his alma mater for two shows: The Rap Guide to Evolution and The Canterbury Tales Remixed, an updated version of his first work based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s classics, which debuted at the Victoria International Fringe Theatre Festival and sold out shows at the Edinburgh festival that year.

A key player in the evolution of Brinkman’s career was Mark Pallen, a professor of microbial genomics at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

After seeing Brinkman’s performance of The Rap Canterbury Tales, he commissioned Brinkman to do for Darwin what he did for Chaucer and create The Rap Guide to Evolution to coincide with the Darwin bicentenary in 2009.

Pallen was impressed with his ability to interweave rap and evolutionary thinking and has since incorporated Brinkman’s videos into his lessons.

“What most scientists watching this stuff don’t realize is that many of the tracks are reworkings of established hip-hop tracks that Baba has adapted for the purposes of explaining evolution,” Pallen said. “So the rap sits in an authentic context too.”

Brinkman is open about his minimal formal education in science. All of his work is subject to a rigorous peer review and fact-checking process.

“You’ve got a three-and-a half-minute rap song,” Brinkman said.

“You can’t communicate the complexities of an entire textbook, but you can point people toward the relevant concepts and put them in the context that promotes curiosity.”

His next off-Broadway show in the hopper deals with the scientifically informed search for a mate in the modern world, based on the theory of evolution.

Following with his history of tackling controversial topics relatively well understood in the scientific community and that are misunderstood by the public, Brinkman is ready to take on climate change, bioengineering and religious behaviour in future works.

“There’s no way you can avoid being offensive, but you can at least try to offend people for the right reasons,” said Brinkman, who has endured unsurprizing criticism from creationists.

This is the first time the Vancouver-born troubadour will perform in Victoria since the beginning in 2004.

“In those days I was very green around the gills. This is me coming back after hundreds of shows and non-stop performing. I’m excited to come back to my own territory and validate the education I got there.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Baba’s back Oct. 24

 

The Rap Guide to Evolution from 8 to 10 p.m.

The Canterbury Tales Remixed from 2 to 4 p.m.

Tickets need to be booked in advance. Call 250-721-8480, online at auditorium.uvic.ca or in person at the UVic Ticket Centre.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

Sidney Lions dish $4,000 to help build on growing trishaw bike charity

Cycling Without Age Society draws attention as far off as Washington

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read