When: Fri., Sept. 24, 7 p.m. 2010
Whether he would cop to the label "nerdcore," Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman's subject matter—14th-century English poets, organizing principles of biology—certainly earns him street cred. He made a name for himself at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005 with an antic performance of "The Rap Canterbury Tales," which was essentially a live version of his master's thesis in medieval and renaissance English literature.
Since then he's been a regular at the Fringe Festival with his jubilantly wordy stage shows. On Friday he'll present his latest creation, "The Rap Guide to Evolution," which is the product of an artistic challenge from Dr. Mark Pallen, a microbiologist at the University of Birmingham, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. Brinkman rhymes entertainingly about natural selection; one song reimagines the nationalist anthem "I'm a African," by hip-hop duo Dead Prez, as an explanation of the origin of the human species. Pallen carefully checked his lyrics for scientific accuracy, which, as Brinkman likes to point out, makes him the world's first peer-reviewed rap artist.
The free concert runs 7–8 p.m. and is offered as part of the N.C. Science Festival, which continues through the weekend.—Marc Maximov