About the show

Darwin Got It Going On!

A novel species of theatre combining the wit, poetry and charisma of a great rapper with the accuracy and rigor of a scientific expert, Baba Brinkman’s The Rap Guide to Evolution uses hip-hop as a vehicle to communicate the facts of evolution while illuminating the origins and complexities of hip-hop culture with Darwin as the inspiration.

A smash hit at the Edinburgh Fringe and around the world, The Rap Guide is at once provocative, hilarious, intelligent and scientifically accurate. Brinkman performs his clever reworkings of popular rap singles as well as his own originals to illustrate Natural Selection, Sexual Selection, Evolutionary Psychology and much more.

Brinkman undertook the project at the suggestion of Dr. Mark Pallen, author of The Rough Guide to Evolution. After seeing Brinkman’s internationally acclaimed Rap Canterbury Tales, Dr. Pallen challenged the polymath rapper to “do for Darwin what he had done for Chaucer.” In order to ensure scientific and historical accuracy, Brinkman consulted Pallen throughout the creative process, making The Rap Guide to Evolution the first peer-reviewed hip-hop show. Pallen has described Brinkman as having “swallowed the idea and turned it into a work of genius.”

But, as The Scotsman’s review explains, “Where most people would be happy just to convey the gist of Darwin’s theories in rhyme, Brinkman adds a twist: this isn’t just a show about evolution delivered in a hip-hop style, it’s also a show about the evolution of hip-hop…Evolution, it transpires, has much to teach us about hip-hop, and vice versa: bling is a fitness display; the process of natural selection operates on iPod playlists and teenage pregnancy in the ghettos can be read as an evolutionary strategy designed to maximize the chances of genetic material being passed on in a high-risk environment.”

As Edinburgh’s Scotsman newspaper said, “you’ll never look at a hip-hop video in the same way again.”