The Rap Guide to Evolution seeks to educate and entertain by making evolutionary theory relevant and engaging to a wide audience. This might sound like rapper Baba Brinkman has bitten off more than any single performer can chew, but his mouth keeps pace with his ambition of illustrating evolution in action. Just like rap artists, some prosper, some die out, and everyone can influence that evolution. Or we could influence evolution in another way – by not sleeping with mean people!
Getting a middle-class Melbourne audience applauding rap could be seen as an achievement itself, but Baba Brinkman goes far beyond making rap palatable to varied tastes – he uses it to intelligently and effectively discuss human behaviour, evolutionary psychology and the development and implications of evolutionary theory.
Simply put, this guy is freaking brilliant: “Best believe I’m the best of the best of the best of the best, generations of competitive pressure genetically.” It’s not hard to believe. He’s a package of talent, intelligence and wonderful energy. He’s obviously worked hard to understand his subject – how else could he explain such vast concepts so concisely?
If he wasn’t, essentially, such a likeable and honest guy, the show wouldn’t work nearly as well. His self-deprecating humour underpins the show, as he transitions smoothly between rapper/faux-gangsta and the nice middle-class Canadian with a Masters in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature who sits beneath the façade (or is that just another persona? Oh god). Among other concepts, he effectively illustrates Batesian mimicry to explain the behaviour of rappers, as well as discussing the cultural context in which violence or the appearance of violence is a necessary element of survival.
There is so much to this show – so much content to consider and so much talent on display. There’s a lot of information to take in, and even with ten minutes devoted to data, there isn’t a single boring moment. You let your attention drift at your peril, because he’ll leave you behind.
All I can say is: see the show! Since only two shows were booked, then sold out, another has opened later tonight. It’s terribly sad how few people will get along to this show. But see it, see it if you can!