The Rap Guide to Evolution is a full-length rap album and one-man show that debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009, winning the Scotsman Fringe First Award for outstanding new writing. It is a “peer-reviewed” hip-hop show, entertaining and accessible, with lyrics that have been scientifically fact-checked for accuracy (see the TREE Review document below).
Click here to read a review from the New York Times.
Following the success at the Fringe, I partnered with London-based SPL Productions, the company behind the West-End hit “Into the Hoods,” and we submitted a successful grant proposal to the Wellcome Trust (the UK& 39;s largest charity) to make an educational DVD consisting of 12 music videos, one for each song on the Rap Guide to Evolution CD, as well as bonus material and teaching resources.
Click here to download and listen to the CD.
Quite a few biology and psychology teachers already use the rap songs in their classes (see the “Testimonials” document below) to introduce evolutionary concepts to their students, and these videos will make an even more potent vehicle for communicating science in an entertaining manner.
The initial funding from the Wellcome Trust allows us to shoot live footage for each video with a professional film crew, edit it, and set up a website to distribute the videos. The filming phase of the project is now complete (check out the photos below), and the post-production phase will run from January-March 2011. The additional funding from Crowdfunder will allow us to produce original animation and digital effects and license high-quality nature footage from the BBC, to make the vision of each video really come to life.
Rewards for your contributions include your name in the video credits, a free digital download of the DVD, a pre-order of the DVD to be sent to you by mail when it’s ready, and even the use of your photo within the videos themselves, each photo representing a branch on the human family tree (we& 39;ll collect them after the term ends on January 20th). Contributions of over £1,000 will book a full performance of the Rap Guide to Evolution (or Rap Canterbury Tales) at your local school or theatre in 2011, subject to Baba’s availability (Vanier College in Montreal and the Prince Charles Cinema in London have already secured bookings this way).?
If we don’t hit the £10,000 target you get your money back, but we will still complete the DVD with the Wellcome Trust funding, although the production value will be considerably lower, limiting the reach and impact of the project. Your contributions will directly help thousands or perhaps even millions of students and non-scientists achieve a clearer understanding of Darwin& 39;s important theory, and the facts of evolution.
Note on Accountability: this project will be fully costed and accounted according the guidelines of the Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Grants Program. For more information visit the Wellcome Trust website.