The Rap Guide to Evolution


Following a five month sold-out season off-Broadway, New York-based Canadian-born rapper Baba Brinkman is preparing to shake up Australia with The Rap Guide to Evolution – a unique species of hip-hop theatre combined with the wit, poetry and charisma of a great rapper with the accuracy of a scientific expert to communicate the facts of evolution and origins of hip-hop culture.

Complete with a live DJ (Jamie Simmonds) and epic audio-visual show, Brinkman performs his own clever originals as well as re-workings of popular rap singles to illustrate natural selection, sexual selection and evolutionary psychology.

A smash hit at the Edinburgh Fringe and off-Broadway in an extended run, The Rap Guide to Evolution is at once provocative, hilarious, intelligent and scientifically accurate.

The performance was prompted by Professor of Microbial Genomics Dr Mark Pallen, author of The Rough Guide to Evolution, who had seen Brinkman’s internationally acclaimed Rap Canterbury Tales – challenged the rapper to “do for Darwin what he had done for Chaucer”.

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. He has described Brinkman as having “swallowed the idea and turned it into a work of genius”.

Brinkman has toured his award-winning hip-hop theatre shows around the world, including six critically acclaimed runs at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2004. His rap adaptations are used in hundreds of classrooms, bringing a new generation of interest to science and literature.

Brinkman is also a former tree planter who worked in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia every summer for more than ten years, personally planting over one million trees.

The scholar with a Masters in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature has written and co-written four hip-hop theatre shows, all of which have toured internationally. Brinkman is also the founder of indie label Lit Fuse Records, and has released ten solo hip-hop albums since 2004.

The Rap Guide to Evolution won the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award in Edinburgh and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in New York. Brinkman has also appeared at several TED conferences and for his efforts to improve the public understanding of evolution, won a Friend of Darwin Award in 2013.

The Rap Guide to Evolution continues its Australian tour at Arts Centre Melbourne (6 & & June), Canberra Theatre Centre (11 June), Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (13 & 14 June), Sydney Opera House (17 – 21 June), Parramatta Riverside Theatre ( 23 – 25 June), and Casula Powerhouse (26 & 27 June).

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Image: Baba Brinkman in The Rap Guide to Evolution