Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews


The Rap Guide to Evolution written and performed by Baba Brinkman – Off Broadway Theater Review




picture - Baba BrinkmanTheater Review

by Sarah Baram

published May 18, 2010


The Rap Guide to Evolution

had a short run from May 4-8

Off Broadway at the Bleecker Street Theatre


“Do for Darwin what you did for Chaucer.”  That is exactly how this academically-rooted rap-medium of a show was born, by a middle class white male professor from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Rap Guide to Evolution is Baba Brinkman’s sophomore project, preceding his highly acclaimed and successful The Rap Guide to The Canterbury Tales. The show is an interesting one, which may be the swiftest way to put it. What comes to mind when you think of Charles Darwin and … rap?  A tough mix to conjure up.  That is, unless you are Baba Brinkman.


Brinkman’s little masterpiece of science-rapping was most recently housed in the equally odd Bleecker Street Theatre. If you have yet to attend a show there, it is a worthy New York treasure to experience at least once. The lobby has a great aroma of freshly prepared eats, as it is inside of a café. Or is it the other way around?


With a Scotsman Fringe First Award in the back of his mind, I’m sure, Brinkman came to the stage to deliver nothing short of a strong, dramatic show arguing the theories of Charles Darwin. Is evolution a reality? Yes. As a result, are we all African? To the core. Survival of the fittest? If Charles Darwin and Mobb Deep agree, it must be true. Now, how to we get rid of mean people? Easy, stop having sexual intercourse with them.


As a rap/spoken-word show, The Rap Guide to Evolution literally speaks for itself. The beats are tight and the rhyming schemes catchy. It is hard not to be impressed by a rap song that boasts words such as mitochondria and deoxyribonucleic acid. There are, however, times when Brinkman’s dramatics seem to overshadow his raps, as if he is trying to overcompensate for a theory he, or the audience, may not fully understand.


Although Brinkman’s performance is impressive, and even allows audience participation, it is not for every show seeker. Tourists be wary, along with small children and those with no interest in science, philosophy or sociology: this show may not appeal to your palette, especially if you come pre-programmed with an aversion to rap. The Rap Guide to Evolution is meant for those well versed in Darwin; all others may sway and find themselves napping at the rapping.


picture - Rap Guide to Evolution album coverThe Rap Guide to Evolution has run its current course in New York City. That does not mean you have missed out on all the good ol’ evolutionary fun. All acts are featured on Brinkman’s CD of the same name, available on his website, and it's well worth the time spent downloading.  


sarahbaram @


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