WritingEssays, articles, and blogs about rap, literature, and science. Baba's first book of poetry "The Rap Canterbury Tales" was published by Talon Books in 2006.
PublicationsPublications The Rap Canterbury Tales (Talon Books 2006).
Illustrated facing-page paperback featuring Baba's rap lyrics and the original Middle English source, with illustrations by Erik Brinkman (Baba's brother).
Darwin on the FringeBaba's entertaining blog written for Whatsonstage.com, interpreting the Edinburgh Fringe through the lens of evolutionary theory. 2009 – The Rap Guide to Evolution and The Rebel Cell
2010 – The Rap Guide to Human Nature and Rapconteur
Category Archives: Blog
I’m excited to announce that Rap Guide to Religion was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of “Unique Theatrical Experience.” Director/Producer Darren Lee Cole and myself both got spiffy certificates at the nomination reception, and we will find out on May 31st at the awards ceremony whether or not we get the prize. Competition is fierce, but it’s good to know that a scientifically peer-reviewed hip-hop comedy about the evolutionary origins of religion is at least a contender in the “uniqueness” category.
ASU CENTER FOR EVOLUTION AND MEDICINE COMMISSIONS A “PEER REVIEWED” RAP ALBUM TO COMMUNICATE SCIENCE
April 30, 2015 (New York, NY) – The Center for Evolutionary Medicine (CEM) at Arizona State University has combined resources with the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH), San Francisco’s Perlstein Lab, and the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) in the UK, to sponsor the creation of a unique art/science collaboration. The result is The Rap Guide to Medicine by award-winning rap artist Baba Brinkman, a collection of songs that explore themes of health and disease from an evolutionary perspective – both a hip-hop gem and a great teaching resource.
The Rap Guide to Medicine takes a hard-edged look at the roots of illness, tracing many of the body’s vulnerabilities back to its evolutionary history. As the opening track declares: “Disease itself is not the adaptation, but you need adaptations to explain why we get sick.” The album features clever parasites, rebellious cancer cells, diseases of modernity, the evolution of aging, and a sufferer of cystic fibrosis who uses the “gene’s eye view” to come to terms with his illness. Baba Brinkman’s premiere performance at the 2015 ISEMPH Conference in Tempe, AZ received a complete standing ovation from a room full of 300 scientists.
The album was produced by the UK’s Mr. Simmonds and vetted for scientific accuracy by several experts from the Society, led by Randolph M. Nesse, co-author with George C. Williams of the seminal evolutionary medicine text Why We Get Sick. Nesse commented: “This is amazing. I won’t need to teach my course, I’ll just have students listen to the album! Seriously, I’d like to see every doctor in the world get a copy, as a gift from their patients.”
The Rap Guide to Medicine is now available from iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. Watch the music video for the lead single Gene’s Eye View here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qo2Gyr9qTY and the video for “So Infectious” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swoDROzsjXg.
Rap Guide to Religion continues its successful run at the Soho Playhouse, with an awesome new review and “critics’ pick” designation by the New York Times. The show is now confirmed to run until March 29th!
My latest off-Broadway production, “Rap Guide to Religion,” begins its extended run this week, with shows confirmed until the end of February. Check out the brand new website for the show, with updated “bad boy fallen angel” artwork, and the new theatrical trailer on YouTube. Please view and share and comment and like and all that good stuff!
Also, if you have already seen the show, please take a moment to leave a comment and rating on Time Out New York’s listing page. Every butt we can get into a seat will make for a warmer winter and a more enjoyable run, and with a great new publicity team on board I’m excited to see where we can take it.
As for my next projects, stay tuned for new music releases and play premieres from the Canadian rap troubadour in 2015, and for now here’s a recent interview in The Progressive Magazine about how education, environmentalism, religion, and rap music come together.
My new album, The Rap Guide to Wilderness, is about to drop, and my off-Broadway play, The Rap Guide to Religion, continues its off-Broadway run here in New York, so I’m sharing some new links of goodness with you fine people.
Watch me entertain 5,000 delegates with a “rap up” (written and performed on the spot) at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, jamming with Fijian drummers and an aboriginal didgeridoo player at their closing ceremony.
And if you haven’t seen it, check out the music video for “Tranquility Bank” featuring Aaron Nazrul from the Boom Booms.
I’m also in the process of booking tours and performances for 2015 right now, so please reach out if you have a venue or event in mind for any of my various “rap guides”.
|The Rap Guide to Religion continues at the Soho Playhouse in New York, running until December 13th. Get tickets here.|
|The Rap Guide to Wilderness official digital release is on December 16th. Pre-order the album now from iTunes.|
Here’s an exclusive sneak preview of my new album: The Rap Guide to Wilderness.
The project is a celebration of wild nature and its impact on human wellbeing, commissioned by the Wild Foundation. Download the album for free or pay what you like, with 50% of the profits donated to the Wild Foundation for conservation activities. The official release date is December 16th, but you lucky people get exclusive access weeks in advance, AND you get first peek at my new music video for the song “Tranquility Bank” featuring Aaron Nazrul from the Boom Booms. Click the image below or click here to watch it, and share share share.
I’m also doing a publicity push in advance of the December 16th official album release, so if any of you know of a blog or media outlet that might be keen to review the album or chronicle the birth of eco-rap, please pass on the links or put us in touch. Thanks to some seriously talented musical collaborators this record represents a rare mix of infectious tunes and inspirational messages and I hope it spreads far and wide. Enjoy!
Support The Rap Guide to Wilderness on IndieGogo
I’ve been working full-tilt on my new record, The Rap Guide to Wilderness, which will premiere at the World Parks Congress in less than two weeks. We’re in the end-phase of producing it, and the WILD Foundation is still raising money through IndieGogo to help cover production costs, with cool perks and exclusive early access to the record. The campaign ends tomorrow night so please use the link above to support!
This album has honestly been a joy to work on, with guest vocals and instrumentation by The Boom Booms and Tia Brazda and Todd Reynolds, and production by Lin G who I worked with on ”Apocalyptic Utopian Dreams”. The Wilderness songs are also kid-friendly, eco-positive, and very catchy, so I hope we’ve got a green hip-hop revolution on our hands!
In other great news, The Rap Guide to Religion has officially been extended off-Broadway until December 13th. We had a couple of positive reviews (with interesting qualifications) from Sinai and Synapses and Theatre is Easy, and I’m excited to continue spreading the good word about religion’s naturalistic origins, and possible future evolution.
The WILD Foundation is commissioning a new hip-hop album entitled ”The Rap Guide to Wilderness” which I’m in the process of producing now! The songs are about how we relate to wild nature, its profound contribution to human wellbeing, and what we can do to ensure wilderness remains a part of our lives indefinitely. WILD.org is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo to fund the record, and the perks are pretty awesome, so I’m spreading the word. If you didn’t get in on my last campaign, or if you’re more into wilderness than science-of-religion (or if love of wilderness is your religion), this is a great project to support.
WILD.org is supporting me to bring in an awesome production team for this album including vocals and music from The Boom Booms, production and mix from Lin G, and beats from Soulful Spider and Tom Caruana, which is the same team that worked on my previous record “Apocalyptic Utopian Dreams”. And the campaign includes funds to make a music video to help launch the project. I’ll be performing songs from the album at the World Parks Congress in November, so please contribute what you can to this project (even a few bucks is a huge help), and share the link on social media.
The Rap Guide to Religion Premieres off-Broadway
Announcing a new off-Broadway theatre production, written and performed by Baba Brinkman, directed by Darren Lee Cole, and produced by Soho Playhouse Inc. The Rap Guide to Religion opened at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was met with rave reviews and audience acclaim. Now Soho Playhouse Inc is proud to present the show for a limited five-week engagement beginning October 8th. Full schedule and reservations are online here.
“Devilishly insightful and dazzlingly witty… a fringe must-see”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Edinburgh Reporter
The Rap Guide to Religion is a new species of theatre, part hip-hop concert, part stand up comedy, and part TED Talk, exploring one of the most heated questions of our age: what’s the point of religion? Taking a scientific approach to the question, Canadian hip-hop artist Baba Brinkman performs faith-illuminating songs inspired by the best of cognitive science, evolutionary theory, and comparative anthropology, with examples from his own family history (Baba’s ultra-religious great great great grandparents sired more than 8,000 descendants). Audiences will discover the various ways and means by which religion evolves in our species, and will leave the show with a new appreciation of religion, and its critics.
“I had the time of my life. I love Brinkman’s blend of lecture hall, with vaudeville, with a studied and yet organic lyricism… real talk, in every sense.”
★ ★ ★ ★ Edinburgh Uncovered
A prolific writer, producer, and recording artist, Baba is currently working on the album version of The Rap Guide to Religion, supported by a successful campaign with more than 300 backers on Kickstarter. He recently released a preview EP “Religion Evolves” featuring songs from the show. He has also been commissioned to write and perform a new “Rap Guide to Wilderness” at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia in November. Baba’s “Rap Guide” series also includes the award-winning “Rap Guide to Evolution” (“Astonishing and brilliant” NY Times).
“Irresistible lyricism… a fantastic show”
★ ★ ★ ★ A Younger Theatre
My Kickstarter campaign only has 58 hours left and it’s tantalizingly close! In the past week we’ve had more than 60 new backers and we’re now well over the 2/3 mark, 217 backers so far. Can we pull off the final 1/3 in less than 3 days?
Several amazing things have happened in the past few days that give me hope. Legendary evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski dropped $750 on the campaign, earning himself a custom-written rap song, and went on to tweet that he wants the song to be about his famous E. Coli experiment, tracking 60,000 generations of experimental evolution. Now that’s a rap I can’t wait to write!
Richard also complained that the $750 pledge doesn’t include the lower rewards which he also wants. Ask and ye shall receive. So I’m officially announcing that any contributions of $500 and up will now include the “Swag Pack” ($100 level) and the “Animated Character Based On You” ($250 level) if the backer so desires. Anyone want to increase their pledge?
Also, veteran mix engineer Bill Simpkins from Alpenglo Sound Studios wrote to offer a massive donation: he will mix the album free of charge (approximately $5,000 in value) if we hit the target! This means I’ll be able to spend more of the budget on awesome production value and animation, but only if we get there.
If you’re planning to back the project but were waiting until the end, now is the time! Whatever you can contribute helps, and then please let people know that you are a backer via email and social media, and tell them why you want this project to succeed.
As for me, I want it to succeed because I have a story to tell. It’s the story of how religion came to be part of human nature, how it evolved, what its adaptive functions were, and how it might continue to evolve in the future, especially as more and more of us continue to identify as non-religious. To help me tell this story, I’ve enlisted input from world class scientists and researchers who study religion, and from an awesome team of music producers and animators. Hip-hop is the medium I work in, telling stories through songs and live performances and videos. Help me tell this story!