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The Urban Scientist


A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences
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Spit a Rhyme, Drop Some Science

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Hip Hop Education is taking over the world. My brother in science and hip hop Dr. Chris Emdin and The GZA of Wu-Tang have rolled out an amazing science education and engagement platform: Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S.  High School students create rhymes and battle each other to demonstrate not only their MC prowess but science comprehension as well.

Kicking it my bro, Chris Emdin at Columbia College Teachers College. He.Is.So.DOPE!

I know. So awesome. What? You want next? Bet.

PBS News Hour invites you to Create Your Own Science Rap.

(details at School House Rapping With Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA and below)

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.

How to submit a video:

  1. Create your science rap video according to the guidelines below and upload it to YouTube.
  2. Click here to submit your entry in the contest. (You must log in to your YouTube account.)
  3. Now, choose the video from your channel and submit it as a response to GZA’s YouTube video.
  4. Videos will be reviewed and approved before they become visible on the PBS NewsHour channel.

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.) I recommend Evolution or Ecology. Shoot who am I kidding,go big, do Sexual Selection and avoid swear words. You will so own the mic after that. LOL
  • 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.

Interested in the Intersection of Hip Hop and Education? Then please follow #HipHopEd. Weekly Twitter chats Tuesdays, 9 pm EST.

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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