January 6, 2011

Rap Guide to Human Nature.

If Eminem and Dawkins had a baby, Baba Brinkman would be the result.

The blind stares of a million pairs of third eyes
Lookin’ hard but they don’t realize
That they will never see

For those of you who know me know that I am a huge science and technology geek as well as comics, sci-fi, hip-hop and Zen. So imagine my excitement when I came across Baba Brinkman and his album The Rap Guide to Evolution.

From the Crowdfunder.org website’s pitch:

The Rap Guide to Evolution is a full-length rap album and one-man show that debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009, winning the Scotsman Fringe First Award for outstanding new writing.  It is a “peer-reviewed” hip-hop show, entertaining and accessible, with lyrics that have been scientifically fact-checked for accuracy.

The Rap Guide to Evolution has been getting plenty of press which is how I came across it. And I love it! Brinkman seems to get it right. But looking at his album list, I found what might be of more interest to the Elephant Journal community, The Rap Guide to Human Nature.

The opening song, You Can’t See Me, naturally struck a cord with me, the lyrics quoted above. Baba Brinkman does a wonderful job at explaining what makes science so important: method. Try as we might, we interact with the world subjectively. Science has proven itself a useful tool to remove our subjectivity from our experiences.

What about yoga, Buddhism and meditation? Aren’t these used as means to remove subjectivity from our experience of the world?

Absolutely. Which is what I love about all of this madness.

On this album, he goes through five different hypotheses common in current human thought and posits how rap music may be explained.

  • Creationism
  • Spiritualism
  • Social Constructivism
  • Biological Determinism
  • Evolutionism

Listen and you may laugh at the ridiculousness of one or more while giving a mental high-five to the artist for nailing it with yet another. But upon reflection, Baba Brinkman is not advocating or making fun of. He is presenting.

From Hypothesis 2 (Spiritualism):

Evolution is a beautiful, unifying vision
But when science gets too ambitious, it shades into “scientism”
If you take the time to listen to enlightened mystics
Like the Dalai Llama, you’ll see, there’s other kinds of wisdom
What can Darwin teach me about the transcendental experiences
I’ve found through meditation, or the boundless mysteriousness
Of existence? What? That I’m just delirious
And it’s just an illusion that corresponds to certain neurological areas?
C’mon, let’s be serious; it’s not all in the cerebellum!
Human nature has a physical level, and a spirit level
And the transcendent is imminent in the material – it’s very subtle
But it’s a theory for which science has no clear rebuttal
Consciousness came before matter, not vice versa, and it’s
Only through love and compassion that the spirit side emerges
And rappers are channeling that spirit when they recite their verses
But all the sex and violence, well, that’s biological urges

I could go through each and every song and explain what I love about this album. But you know what? I want to leave that to you! Luckily, his albums are available to listen for free or to download for a price you deem fair.

Which song caught your eyes?

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