Skip Navigation

Rap Guide to Evolution performed at Keene State

Baba Brinkman’s The Rap Guide to Evolution Illuminates Darwin and Hip-Hop at the Redfern Arts Center

The Rap Guide to Evolution by Baba Brinkman uses hip-hop as a vehicle to communicate the facts of evolution while illuminating the origins of hip-hop culture with Darwin as inspiration. Lauded by theatre critics, scientists, and fellow rappers, Brinkman brings his novel species of theatre to the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College on Tuesday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m. The same day a school performance for middle and high school students will take place at 9:30 a.m. Brinkman will stay after each show for a discussion with the audience.

While in residence, Brinkman will present a workshop on writing theatrical rap versifications on Monday, February 4, at 8 a.m. in the Wright Theatre with KSC theatre faculty Doug Wilcox’s Art of the Imagination theatre course. Additionally, students from the KSC Breakers, the Breaking and Hip-Hop Culture Club of Keene State College, will give a breakdancing demonstration in the Student Center Atrium on Tuesday, February 5 at noon. The demonstration is free and open to the general public.

Tickets are $20 for the general public; $13 for senior citizens, children, KSC alumni, faculty, and staff; $5 for Keene State students; and $10 for the school performance. Call the Redfern Box Office at 603-358-2168 or order online at

Canadian rap artist Baba Brinkman created The Rap Guide as a hip-hop exploration of modern biology that is provocative, hilarious, intelligent and scientifically accurate. Brinkman performs his clever reworking of popular rap singles as well as his own originals to illustrate natural selection and the evolutionary roots of human behavior. Brinkman undertook the project at the suggestion of geneticist Dr. Mark Pallen, who requested a rap version of On the Origin of Species for Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday in 2009. In order to ensure scientific and historical accuracy, he 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.”

Brinkman went on to perform The Rap Guide to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Off-Broadway. Olivia Judson, who writes about biology and science for The New York Times, called the show “one of the most astonishing, and brilliant, lectures on evolution I’ve ever seen.”

Other rappers, too, have praised the show. Brinkman’s fellow Canadian Shad K, winner of the 2011 Juno Award (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for Best Rap Recording, calls The Rap Guide “lyrically sharp, highly inventive and entertaining.”

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

About Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College

The Arts Center is named in honor of Dr. Leo F. Redfern, Keene State College President from 1969 to 1979 for his vision, commitment, and eloquence on behalf of the arts that made funding and construction of the facility a reality. In 1981, KSC inaugurated this new performing arts center, with the goal of providing unforgettable artistic encounters for the campus and community. Since then, the Redfern stage has hosted hundreds of amazing shows, from internationally renowned artists to emerging young talents to KSC’s own student performers. Over the years, the Redfern has expanded its outreach programs, curricular and community partnerships, becoming an indispensable resource for the Keene community and beyond.

Related Stories

Contact Keene State College

229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435