The Rap Guide to Evolution

The Rap Guide to Evolution
Baba Brinkman and Jamie Simmonds. Directed by Dodd Lumis. Canberra Theatre 11 June 2014 and touring nationally

Anybody who has encountered Darwin’s basic thesis understands that the observable phenomenon of evolution by natural selection has an explanation that is as readily comprehensible as the successes of animal and plant breeders, and that both explanations come down to very basic operations: descent (i.e. reproduction) with modification; limited resources (ensuring intra-species competition); and differential breeding success (unfortunately translated as survival of the fittest).  But those concepts, basic as they are, have huge implications, ones it would be easy for most of us to overlook most of the time.  For a good grasp of the implications of these evolutionary forces for ourselves, for our society, for our world, and, perhaps most significantly, for rap music, you’ll need a fairly solid biology education; that, or an hour’s exposure to The Rap Guide to Evolution.


The range of topics that this hour-long combination song–dance–DJ–presentation–lecture  covered beggars belief.  It included the creationist contrivance of intelligent design; evidence of our common African ancestry; biomimicry; Thomas Malthus’s conclusions concerning competition for resources; the handicap principle; Freud; eugenics and social Darwinism (that ugly excuse for all the ills that the undeservingly rich and powerful wish to visit upon the rest of us); evolutionary psychology; messages apparent in rappers’ display of expensive jewellery; the largest single causes of homicide and of teenage pregnancy; Brinkman’s application of evolutionary principles to changing the show itself; and—featuring large—the effect of female mate choice both upon maleness and upon the future of our society.  And more.


This performance, a distilled broad scientific and social education with illumination both by Brinkman’s perfect capture of rap moves and by beautifully contrived graphics on a large screen, is not to be missed.  Some of the music is too intense in the high frequencies; if you value your hearing, bring or ask for earplugs.


John P. Harvey


The Rap Guide’s remaining Australian tour dates are as follows:


Friday 13 – Saturday 14 June 2014: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (IPAC), Wollongong

Wednesday 18 – Friday 20 June: Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Tuesday 24 – Wednesday 25 June: Riverside Theatres, Parramatta

Thursday 26 - Friday 27 June - Casula Powerhouse, Casula

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