Shows

Baba’s hip-hop theater productions have received rave reviews off-Broadway and at festivals around the world, including two Drama Desk Award Nominations and a Fringe First Award in Edinburgh for Outstanding New Writing. Baba is currently the Resident Artist at New York's historic Soho Playhouse, performing several of his shows in rotation throughout 2019. He brings his Rap Guide Series to Edinburgh in August 2019 before resuming the off-Broadway run. Baba also regularly tours and performs at college campuses and performing arts venues across North America and around the world.
off-Broadway
Edinburgh Fringe

LATEST PRODUCTION

RAP GUIDE TO CULTURE

Baba Brinkman’s latest science comedy “Rap Guide” explores humanity’s unique talent for cumulative culture, and how rap music offers unique insights into the competition of memes for space in our brains.

Music, poetry, art, science, politics, relationships, strange behaviors found in a species of (mostly) hairless primate. How do social norms and systems evolve and who benefits? Genes, brains, ideas, individuals, groups, societies and now the whole planet hangs in the balance as cultures and sub-cultures compete for survival and the viral come-up.

Darwin had it right: culture is biology.

World Premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe!

RAP GUIDE TO CONSCIOUSNESS

The science of perception, hallucination and free will comes to life on stage as “peer reviewed rapper” Baba Brinkman takes a deep dive into the neurobiology of human experience. Baba’s brain consists of roughly 80 billion neurons, none of which has any clue that he exists. And yet somehow those cells come together to produce a steady stream of ill rhymes, laughs, and mind-blowing scientific discoveries. Take a deep dive into embryos, octopuses, and self-conscious robots, and see whether your sense of reality survives intact.

Made with support from University of Sussex Neuroscience, the Sandpiper Fund, the Schein Foundation, the Anthropocene Institute, and the Canadian Core for Neuroethics.

Reviews & Press

"You'll learn about science via Rap Guide to Consciousness the same effortless way you learn about history via Hamilton." — Yes Broadway

"Rap Guide to Consciousness is a delight for intellectuals, a delight for rap junkies, a delight for stoners and for STEM fielders" — Theatre is Easy

"The funniest, most impressive, dopest f***ing science lesson you're ever going to experience" — PXP Magazine

"You don’t have to be a genius to enjoy Brinkman’s show, you just have to love imaginative cutting-edge performance." — DC Metro Theater Arts

"A mind-blowing tour de force... reveals how rap can be a vehicle for not only education, but even raising your consciousness"  — High Existence

"He is not the world's coolest rapper, but he might be the funniest and most well-read. Exercise any free will you have and buy a ticket."  ★ ★ ★ ★ — Evening Standard

"Insightful and greatly informative... a funny but serious appreciation of the wonders of the human mind" — The Psychologist

"Mind-blowingly, awe-inspiringly good" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Broadway Baby (Edinburgh)

"Lyrically rich, educational, and fascinating" ★ ★ ★ ★ — 13th Floor

"Makes you feel truly engrossed and enlightened" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Arts Fringes

"Funny and enjoyable" — Sick of the Fringe

"Exudes a wicked sense of fun... giving new meaning to the term 'pop science'" ★ ★ ★ ★ — British Theatre Guide

"Massively entertaining... will keep you thinking – maybe for a lifetime" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Mumble Music

"Genius... something very special indeed" ★ ★ ★ ★ — EdFringe Review

"Fascinating... witty and informative rapping" ★ ★ ★ ★ — Three Weeks

"My brain is still buzzing" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Edinburgh Culture Review

"Brilliant... a hip-hop sensation" ★ ★ ★ ★ — Voice Magazine

"If you're of two minds, do both your selves a favour and check it out" ★ ★ ★ ★ — Edinburgh Reporter

"Relevant, educational, and a huge amount of fun" ★ ★ ★ ★ — The List

"Phenomenal and infectious... our dopest unlikely MC" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — CBC Radio

"Clever and extremely entertaining... the brilliance comes in the balance" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Winnipeg Free Press

"Highly entertaining... humorous and engaging" ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 — The Reviews Hub

"Hilarious and touching... utterly unique" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ — Broadway Baby (Brighton) 

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Audience Reviews


THE RAP GUIDE TO EVOLUTION

A hip-hop inspired tour of modern evolutionary biology, winner of the Scotsman Fringe First Award in Edinburgh and nominated for a Drama Desk Award off-Broadway. Baba Brinkman's original peer-reviewed rap show combines the skills and charisma of a live MC with the precision of a scientist, offering deep insights into human nature and the origins of all living things, including rappers.

Reviews & Press

Hawking and rap make science hip (hop) —New Scientist

"The NWA of DNA - Interesting, intelligent and funny hip-hop about evolutionary theory."—Scientific American

★★★★ Totally original and thought-provoking. Dope, data-filled raps that incorporate Darwin, DNA and a Dead Prez sing-along. Smart, funny and seriously meta!—Time Out New York

A total Dar-winner! As fun as it is informative...you’ll probably sing along!—New York Post

Astonishing and brilliant... with fizzing energy and spell-binding charisma!—The New York Times

Engaging and rhythmic... It’s hard to beat the combination of evolution and hip hop!—The New York Times – Science, June 27, 2011

Both brainy and entertaining... Genuine passion, curiosity & analytical skills!—The New York Times – Theatre, June 27, 2011

"Brilliantly conceived and effervescently performed…not only is it factually correct, it's also dazzlingly intelligent…after seeing this show, you'll never look at a hip-hop music video in the same way again!" ★★★★—The Scotsman

"Brinkman is an excellent performer, combining the boyish energy of a rapper with the clever wit of a comedian and the intelligence of a lecturer to create an excellent production, which could be a new and exciting art form." ★★★★—FringeReview.com

"Instantly accessible, destroying creationism through the music of The Notorious BIG, Dead Prez, Mobb Deep, and his own flows, it's an entertaining and scientifically accurate display of lyrical dexterity. Perfect for your inner science geek." ★★★★ —The List

"As lyrically ingenious as it is scientifically accurate, the show caters for rap fans and biology enthuiasts alike. If life on the Fringe is indeed comparable to Darwin's survival of the fittest (as Brinkman would have us believe), then this show ought to be raking in bigger audiences each day, ultimately triumphing above its weaker competitors." ★★★★—Three Weeks

"One of the worldʼs great intelligent rappers…what Baba does is amazing - his knowledge of rap genres and styles is encyclopaedic…a flash of verbal fireworks." ★★★★—Broadway Baby

"Baba Brinkman makes evolutionary science not only accessible but genuinely entertaining. Striking and surprising, but convincing, parallels between the theory of evolution and the theory of rap are tackled, without diluting his material or alienating his audience." ★★★★ —Big Issue Scotland

"The weirdness that is a rap show about evolutionary biology is like the weirdness that is the first appearance of a random genetic mutation. If the mutation turns out to beneficial, it should survive to the next generation; if the show turns out to be popular, Brinkman should be back with another next year." ★★★★ —British Theatre Guide

"Refreshingly original. Brinkman has a light touch and a way with words and rhythm that will appeal to rap aficionados, poetry buffs and anyone interested in science but bored stiff by textbooks." ★★★ —Metro

"Stimulating and intelligent...Brinkman's rhymes are sometimes Shakespearian in their beauty." ★★★ —Fest Magazine

"There aren't many hip-hoppers who use words like 'mitochondria' and 'phenotype' in their rhymes - but Brinkman wasn't just showing off for clever's sake; this was intelligent, informative and, crucially, hugely entertaining."—Chortle

"Intelligent, entertaining, and passionately performed, Brinkman is as mucha wiz at the science bit as he is at the hip-hop."—Sunday Times

"In a blinding barrage of rhymes that find the missing link between Eminem and Richard Dawkins, the Canadian rapper turns in a brilliant gig-cum-lecture that is as educational as it is novel."—Scotland on Sunday

"Sadly reductionist, but [he] finds the courage to sin boldly"—FirstThings.com (Christian website)

"An intelligent, lyrical, witty collection of performance poetry that also manages to be an accurate popular-science discussion of modern evolutionary theory and its wider implications"—TREE Journal (Trends in Evolution and Ecology)

"Hip-hop fans and scientists alike should marvel at Canadian Baba Brinkman's ability to distill Darwin's Theory through rapidfire rap routines... Highly-evolved entertainment!" ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 —Adelaide Advertiser, Australia

"Brinkman has a sublime knack for making sense of difficult texts... His playful nature and comic timing provides a platform for laugh-out-loud comedy and a toe-tapping treat. Despite the intellectual topic, expect high entertainment."—Glam Adelaide, Australia

"The juxtaposition of hip-hop with Darwin is striking. By boldly making use of hip-hop in a most unusual but still provokative way, Brinkman harmoniously fuses art with evolution" ★ ★ ★ ★ —Time Out Magazine, Hong Kong

"With lyrics that were sometimes sly, often hilarious, and always smart and thought-provoking, Brinkman married the fast, complex, literate delivery of Eminem with the evolutionary expertise and confrontational manner of Dawkins… A mesmerizing performance, one that would probably do more to convince school children of evolution's validity than any BBC or PBS special could… Scientists, science teachers, and anyone evolution has provided with an open mind and a hint of musical rhythm should rush out to see this show if they're fortunate enough for it to make an appearance nearby."—Science Magazine"A work of genius. Never since Charles Darwin have we had such an eloquent exposition."—Dr. Mark Pallen, Author of The Rough Guide to Evolutio

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RAP GUIDE TO RELIGION

Nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category "Unique Theatrical Experience," Rap Guide to Religion fearlessly explores the religious instincts and experiences seemingly shared by most humans. Taking a scientific approach, Baba Brinkman performs faith-illuminating songs inspired by the best of evolutionary and cognitive science, seeking the natural origins of our supernatural beliefs.

Why do most humans believe in a higher power? What are those beliefs good for? And once they are gone, what can replace them? Fresh from a six month off-Broadway run in 2015, this groundbreaking new work explores the various ways and means by which religion evolves, leaving audiences with a new appreciation of religion, and its critics.

Reviews & Press

“A smart and entertaining survey of what gives us faith, and Brinkman’s confidence and delight in wordplay make it a pleasure to sit back and go with his flow.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Time Out New York

Fully engages all cylinders… a true artist—Tracy’s New York Life

The material is incredibly thought-provoking and richly dense, but he makes it digestible and, most importantly, fascinating—Broadway World

Very funny, very educational… like attending the best TED talk ever, but with musical breaks.—The New York Times

Who the hell is Baba Brinkman? He is a thoughtful, funny, erudite, and amazingly likable talent.—The Humanist

Totally changed my opinion of this generation’s musical vision… you’ll not only learn a lot, but you’ll have fun.—A Seat On The Aisle

A memorable theatre experience, your brain will get a good workout from this very talented and dynamic artist.—Theater Is Easy

His flow is often impressive and he strikes a solid balance between punch lines and substantive lyrical content.—Theater Pizzazz

Sweet hip-hop rhymes take the audience on a journey of self-discovery as to the origins of our culture’s extreme love affair with religious identity.—Stage Buddy

This is no dry academic lecture — it’s a hip-hop show. With intricate rhymes, solid beats, and no small dose of good humor.—Empiricist League

“From all angles it’s clear Brinkman has his act together”—Village Voice

“So engaging and so funny. An amazing show, it really must be seen.”—Harry Allen, WBAI “Nonfiction”

“Devilishly insightful and dazzlingly witty… a fringe must-see” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Edinburgh Reporter

“Irresistible lyricism… a fantastic show” ★ ★ ★ ★ —A Younger Theatre

“An Edinburgh phenomenon… very effectively combining Baba Brinkman’s unique brand of comedy and dissemination of fascinating data.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —British Theatre Guide

“Fabulously intelligent… an original and delightful performer”—London Grip

“I had the time of my life. I love Brinkman’s blend of lecture hall, with vaudeville, with a studied and yet organic lyricism… real talk, in every sense.” ★ ★ ★ ★—Edinburgh Uncovered

“Brilliant and unique, Baba Brinkman uses his talent in a very special way.”—This Is Cabaret

“Breathlessly epic… verges on poetry” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Broadway Baby

“Tremendous energy, enthusiasm and warmth… Go along and brighten up your afternoon and let Baba enlighten you.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —SG Fringe

“Brinkman is intelligent, engaging, funny and can actually rap… he forces us to think about what we get from religion, and whether we can get it from anywhere else.”—The Stage

“Brinkman’s ability to weave complicated arguments into rhyme is uncannily clever and his wordplay is wonderful.”—The Scotsman

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RAP GUIDE TO CLIMATE CHAOS

Baba Brinkman breaks down the politics, economics, and science of global warming, following its surprising twists from the carbon cycle to the energy economy, in a pull-no-punches performance that confronts both the scale of the challenge and also the failings of human psychology that make it such an easy problem to ignore. With scientists, activists, contrarians, and even the Pope adding their voices to the soundtrack, get ready for a funny and refreshing take on the world’s hottest topic.

 Climate Chaos is now playing at the Soho Playhouse as part of Baba's “Rap Guide to” series.

Reviews & Press

“Baba Brinkman makes climate rap hot… the audience was spellbound”—Scientific American

“A testament to the expansive nature of rap music”—Williams Record

“This guy raps about climate change and it’s actually pretty amazing”—Allegheny Front

“Deftly explores the science, politics, and psychology of this century’s toughest challenge”—Sierra Magazine

“Takes listeners on a musical tour of the defining issue of our time, bringing much-needed color, clarity, and humor”—Popular Science

“If the thought of putting Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ into a lyrical blender with ‘Hamilton’ and sprinkling bits of Eminem’s ‘8 Mile’ over top sparks your interest, this might be the album for you”—Geek Dad

“Awesome! If you’re at all on the fence about climate change, this album alone should be enough to convince you”—Fandomania

“Baba not only entertains, but enlightens both the environmentally conscious and unconscious”—R&D Magazine

“The complete package of Brinkman & his ‘Rap Guide to Climate Chaos’ is cleverly seismic”—The Highlighter

“Smart, funny and informative… a devoted student of hip-hop, lacing his songs with rhythmic and lyrical allusions to the genre’s greats.”—Huffington Post

“I left the theatre feeling more hopeful about humanity”—Fusion

“Fires up the audience in a way that I’ve never seen before off-Broadway in New York city”—J. J. Brown

“A funny, thoughtful look at the science, economics and politics of climate change — in verse and with a backbeat”—Think Progress

“A mix of comedy, sincerity, and self-consciousness”—WNYC

“Baba Brinkman is an original, informed and prolific artist”—Downtown Magazine

“This is not preachy; this is theatre – funny, surprising, and smart.” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Front Row Center

“Fun, thought-provoking, and highly original… pulsing energy from beginning to end”—Theater Scene

“Electrifying… a mesmerizing must-see production”—Theater Pizzazz

“Sick rhymes and energetic presence”—Theater Is Easy

“Packs in wit, intelligence and scads of information”—Show Me Shows NYC

“Meet the guy raising climate change awareness through hip-hop”—New York Observer

“An invigorating hour… smart, funny, well-sustained” ★ ★ ★ ★ —The Times

“Exceptionally talented, brilliantly lyrical… Ambitiously mashing together complex climate change research with popular culture… paints a compelling picture” ★ ★ ★ ★  —The Scotsman

“A high octane performance that will make viewers think about what they can do to help slow down global warming” ★ ★ ★ ★ —British Theatre Guide

Deftly-worded… close to perfect… an artist at the absolute top of their game.” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —The Skinny

“An intelligent, info-rich show… Fluid, self-aware, passionate, and engaging. And also very funny.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —The Stage

“A must-see for any hip-hop fan, science geek, or multi-genre fanatic.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Arts Award Voice

“This show could change your life. An absolute fringe must-see.” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Edinburgh Reporter

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THE CANTERBURY TALES REMIXED

Geoffrey Chaucer’s timeless Canterbury Tales comes to vivid life in an “entertaining and brilliant” (Time Out) virtuoso performance linking today’s hip-hop lyrics with the greatest stories ever told. The Pardoner, the Merchant, the Nun’s Priest, and the Wife of Bath weave together rhymes and characters that rival Nicki Minaj and Kanye, spinning tales of greed, lust, jealousy and revenge for modern and medieval audiences alike.

Reviews & Press

“Demonstrates the perceptiveness of a literary scholar and the wit of a chart-topping rapper. Full of head-bobbing rhythms and clever rhymes”—Daily Tar Heel

“A spectacular show that sets the bar high for comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Plays To See

“A grittier, wittier, visceral and definitely  saucier, coarser Chaucer” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Edinburgh Reporter

“Unashamedly fun… a five star experience and a hell of a good time” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Edinburgh Uncovered

“‘The Canterbury Tales Remixed’ is the kind of work that makes off-Broadway hum”—Theatre Scene

“Most rappers boast about their intellect, but few go out and actually get a master’s degree in medieval and Renaissance literature so they can spit better rhymes.”—Huffington Post

“He maintains the essence of Chaucer’s stories and storytelling itself in a fresh way, and his diction and timing capture the Middle Ages’ anachronisms and idiosyncrasies in a way that effortlessly interprets them for a modern audience.”—Backstage

“An audacious hip hop approach to some great literary classics; the show is funny and thoughtful.”—Theater Is Easy

“Not only audacious, but also astute”—Theater Mania

“In his delightful one-man show, Baba Brinkman has unlocked another intimidating masterpiece from the Ivory Tower.”—New York Times

“He turns dusty old works that torture adolescents in classrooms into remarkably current and vivid stories.”—Huffington Post

Warriors clash, badass thieves and thugs receive a brutal comeuppance, husbands fight a losing battle against wily wives and seducing lothiarios, villages are plagued by sinister forces of nature.—Show Business Weekly

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OFF THE TOP

A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival three years running, Off the Top teams up science rapper Baba Brinkman (Rap Guide to Evolution) with neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin (host of "Science Goes to the Movies" on PBS) to explore the science of improvisation and comedy.

A married couple in real life, Baba and Heather bring you the latest research on spontaenous creativity while putting their odd-couple relationship under the microscope. Learn how a rapper seduces a scientist, how hard it is to solve a math problem while rapping, and how your subconscious comes to the surface in spontaneous moments. Humorous, lyrical, and rich with subliminal stimuli, this is hard-core science communication at its best.

Reviews & Press

“Beautifully combines scientific adventure with the arts” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Voice Magazine

“The unlikely combination of rap and neuroscience turns out to be an absolute winner”—FringeReview.co.uk

“An elegant marriage between comedy and science” ★ ★ ★ ★ —The Wee Review

“Highly engaging… If you like rap or neuroscience, you should go”—Scientific American

“Irresistibly charming, enthusiastic, funny, talented and smart”—DC Metro Theatre Arts

“Their chemistry on stage is fantastic… You’ll learn a lot here, with plenty of laughs along the way.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Three Weeks

“Funny? Yes. Endearing? Yes. Interesting? Hugely.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Broadway Baby

“An inspiring and wonderfully entertaining show from beginning to end… an absolute jewel.” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Mumble Comedy

“Unendingly entertaining, jaw-droppingly fascinating… a momentously important show. Pure unashamed geekery.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —Arts Award Voice

“Mixes comfortable quips from our teacher Dr Heather Berlin and a few swift rhymes from her husband Baba Brinkman.” ★ ★ ★ ★ —The Skinny

Conclusive proof that it is possible to be funny and clever. —Evening Standard

“Baba Brinkman and Dr. Heather Berlin deliver what may be the best show of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014.” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Edinburgh Uncovered

“Geek heaven… who says science is boring?” ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ —Edinburgh Reporter

INGENIOUS NATURE

Premiered off-Broadway in 2012 for a limited five-week run, Ingenious Nature follows the story of an entirely fictional Canadian science rapper who moves to New York in search of one special lady, or lots of semi-special ladies, as opportunity would allow. In the show, our anti-hero recounts a series of failed dates acquired through OK Cupid, each of which is analyzed through the lens of evolutionary psychology and its emerging view of human mating strategies.

 In the end, the hapless Canadian science rapper falls for a beautiful and brilliant New York neuroscientist, who bears only a mild resemblance to Baba’s current wife in real life, Dr. Heather Berlin. Ingenious Nature is no longer available for bookings, since the material it contained was unwisely autobiographical.

Reviews & Press

Amiable and energetic—New York Times

Feels like a mash-up of “Schoolhouse Rock” and “Sex and the City” as performed by a young Eminem… impressively delivered—New Yorker

A brilliant and bizarre new theatrical mix-tape—Theater Mania

One of the more interactive shows to be found off-Broadway—Lighting and Sound America

A number of refreshingly daring elements make this a unique theatrical experience.—Associated Press

Provoking controversy appears to be what [Baba] does best—Backstage.com

Brilliant and bewildering—Curtain Up

Bravely tackles the subject of human sexuality… winkingly funny—Exeunt Magazine

RAPCONTEUR

Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010. Comedy hip-hop retellings of some of the world's great oral epics, featuring Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and Chaucer's Merchant's Tale, with music by Mr. Simmonds. This production is no longer available for touring, having been re-written and updated as The Canterbury Tales Remixed (above).

THE RAP GUIDE TO HUMAN NATURE

Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, this comedy rap sequel to The Rap Guide to Evolution zeros in on human behaviour and evolutionary psychology. The Rap Guide to Human Nature is no longer available for touring, having recently been revised and adapted into the off-Broadway production Ingenious Nature.

THE REBEL CELL

Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008. Co-written with MC Dizraeli, the Rebel Cell is a verse play set in England in the year 2013, a scorching political satire and lyrical debate between Che Guevara-style revolutionary politics and Nelson Mandela-style civil disobedience.

THE RAP CANTERBURY TALES

Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004.  Winner: Three Weeks Editor's Choice Award, Edinburgh 2007. Combining virtuoso lyricism with physical theatre and dramatic storytelling, Baba Brinkman recreates Chaucer's best-loved Tales in an engaging, accessible, and often hilarious hip-hop style. This performance is no longer available for touring, having recently been fully revised and re-written as The Canterbury Tales Remixed (above).