I can’t resist the science rap stories David Bruggeman has been highlighting on his Pascro Phronesis blog. In his Mar. 26, 2013 posting, David provides some scoop about Tom McFadden’s Kickstarter project, Battle Rap Histories of Epic Science (Brahe’s Battles),
After Fulbright work in New Zealand and similar efforts in other countries, McFadden is back in the San Francisco area helping middle school students develop raps for science debates. The project is called “Battle Rap Histories of Epic Science” (BRAHE’S Battles) and if fully funded, it would support video production for battle raps on various scientific debates in five schools.
McFadden was mentioned here previously in my Nov. 30, 2012 posting which in the context of a digital storytelling webcast (scroll down 1/2 way),
… a Fulbrighter and former Stanford University biology course instructor who became a Science Rapper. Tom emerged from the California BioPop scene with hit singles such as, “Regulatin’ Genes” and “Oxidate it or Love it,” …
Here’s McFadden’s Kickstarter promotional video (I almost embedded another video here but the Rosalind Franklin reference in first rap won me over unequivocally),
McFadden needs approximately $11,900 total to reach his goal. There are 19 days left for the campaign and $4,783 has been raised. This looks like a great project especially given McFadden’s track record. For the curious, here are some of the incentives being offered,
Pledge $10 or more
MP3 DIGITAL DOWNLOAD. Get an audio download of the “Brahe’s Battle” song of your choice when audio production is completed.
Estimated delivery: May 2013
Pledge $35 or more
THE RYMEBOSOME MIXTAPE: Get a digital download of the “Rhymebosome mixtape”. This includes all 5 mp3s from the Brahe’s Battles project, and almost every science song Tom McFadden has ever created (including hits like “Fossil Rock Anthem”, “Regulatin’ Genes”).
Estimated delivery: May 2013
Pledge $150 or more
YOUR NAME “BEASTIE RAPPED”: Have your name (or the name of your choice) “beastie rapped” by the stars of ‘Brahe’s Battles. (This is rhyming game I play with all the kids where we finish each others rhymes. It was shown briefly in the intro video rhyming with the name “Crick”). We will email you the video as a keepsake! (Includes $50 reward)
Estimated delivery: June 2013
There are lots of choices left including an option for a 20 min. Google hang out with Tom McFadden, an option to commission a song on a topic of your choosing (audio only), or you can choose a Platinum package for $1500 which provides most of these options. If you want to check out McFadden further, there’s his own website, The Rhymebosome.
As for the second project (science rap contest), David sets the stage by noting some history, from his Mar. 27, 2013 posting,
While East Coast and West Coast rappers (in)famously had beef back in the 90s, East Coast and West Coast science rappers have nothing but love.
He then proceeds to detail a science rap project which has its roots on the US East Coast (Note: Links have been removed),
Chris Emdin, you may recall, is the education professor at Teacher’s College at Columbia working with GZA on Science Genius, a rap education project formatted roughly similar to what Tom McFadden is working on in the Bay Area.
Science Genius, Emdin and GZA were featured in tonight’s edition of PBS Newshour. GZA even drops a little taste of his upcoming science-influenced album.
David features a video of the PBS segment and more information about the project in his posting. You can also visit the PBS News Hour website here for details about the contest,
Create Your Own Science Rap
Enter your own science rap or hip-hop verse for a chance to win a PBS NewsHour mug signed by GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan along with a personal video shout-out from the rap legend himself. Our contest is modeled after the Science Genius competition, a partnership between GZA, Christopher Emdin and Rap Genius. Entries will be judged by Emdin and two of his Columbia University Teachers College graduate students.
Here are the competition guidelines,
- Entries must incorporate at least one scientific topic/concept into 16 bars of verse. (16 bars is the length of a traditional verse, and a bar is made up of beats of four.)
- The main topic/concept of the rap must be referenced in different ways at least three times in the verse.
- Be creative in your expression of the science (E.g.: envision yourself either as somebody involved in the scientific process or an object undergoing the scientific process. Draw connections between your real world experiences and the concepts themselves.)
- Information must be scientifically accurate and verifiable.
- Lyrics must rhyme, and incorporate metaphor/analogy
- Entries are due by Friday, May 3. [emphasis mine]
There’s more information either in David’s posting or on the PBS News Hour website.
Good luck to McFadden and to the science rap competitors in the PBS News Hour contest.