The Rap Guide to Evolution

by Baba Brinkman

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    DVD

    Funded by the Wellcome Trust and 300 independent crowdfunding backers, this DVD contains ten professional music videos based on Baba's classic Darwin/Rap mash-up.

    The videos can be previewed along with downloadable teaching materials available here: www.rapguidetoevolution.co.uk

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Rap Guide to Evolution via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

A hip-hop exploration of modern biology. This is the original version of the album, recorded in 2009 and is the soundtrack for the Wellcome Trust Music Video Project, available online here:
www.rapguidetoevolution.co.uk

For the revised, updated album produced by Mr. Simmonds, click here:
bababrinkman.bandcamp.com/album/the-rap-guide-to-evolution-revised

credits

released 01 August 2009

Produced by Soulful Spider, Tom Caruana & Nokz
Engineered and mixed by Soulful Spider
Mastered by Mr. Simmonds
Executive Produced and written by Baba Brinkman

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all rights reserved

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Track Name: Natural Selection
“Whoever is lead to believe that species are mutable, will do good service by conscientiously expressing his conviction, for only thus can the load of prejudice by which this subject is overwhelmed, be removed.”
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

So what-ch-you know about Natural Selection? Go ahead
And ask a question and see where the answer gets you
Try bein’ passive aggressive or try smashin’ heads in
And see which tactic brings your plans to fruition
And if you have an explanation in mind, then you’re
Wastin’ your time, ‘cause the best watchmaker is blind
It takes a certain base kind of impatient mind
To explain away nature with “intelligent design”
But the truth shall set you free
From those useless superstitious beliefs
In a literal Adam and Eve, and that Edenic myth
‘Cause their family tree is showin’ some genetic drift
Take it from this bald-headed non-celibate monk
With the lyrical equivalent of an elephant’s trunk
It’s time to elevate your mind-state
And celebrate your kinship with the primates

The weak and the strong, who got it goin’ on?
We lived in the dark for so long
The weak and the strong, Darwin got it goin’ on
Creationism is dead wrong

“The view which most naturalists entertain…namely that each species has been independently created, is erroneous.”
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

Okay, it’s time to reveal my identity
I’m the manifestation of tens of millions
Of centuries of sexual selection, best believe
I’m the best of the best of the best of the best
Of generations of competitive pressure genetically
But don’t get upset, ‘cause we’ve got the same pedigree
You and I will find a common ancestor eventually
If we rewind geological time regressively
And I could say the same for this hibiscus tree
And this lizard and this flea and this sesame seed
And if you still disbelieve in what your senses perceive
Then I could even use this rhyme as a remedy
‘Cause there’s so much variation in the styles in this industry
And differential survival when the people listening
Decide what they’re into and what really isn’t interesting
You could thrive like Timberlake on a Timberland beat
Or go extinct like Vanilla Ice and N’Sync
It’s survival of the fittest, but fitness is a tricky thing
It changes from place to place and from winter to spring
But the real question in this social-scientific simile
Is heredity, whether we inherit our techniques
From our predecessors, or invent them independently
But then we’re talkin’ memes and that’s a different thing
Richard Dawkins can I get a proper definition please?

The weak and the strong, who got it goin’ on?
We lived in the dark for so long
The weak and the strong, Darwin got it goin’ on
Creationism is dead wrong
The weak and the strong, who got it goin’ on?
Whoever leaves the most spawn
The weak and the strong, Darwin got it goin’ on
Creationism is erroneous

I hear some people complain, like “I don’t wanna be an ape!
I never came from monkey DNA!
I believe God made me in a day – Jesus saves!”
Yeah, he’s great, but stop bein’ afraid
To use the reason “he” gave you to let science solve
Some giant problems and find some final results
I think it’s time for y’all to let your minds evolve
And listen to a different kind of silent call
The kind that comes from pine trees and not Pinesol
I’m talkin’ about the mystical vision that Einstein saw
Wondering at the infinite depth of divine thought
And realizing that scripture can never define God
‘Cause if there is a personal God, then he’s been jerkin’ off
So why would he bother designing an albatross
Especially when natural selection does such an excellent job
Just by balancing benefits and costs?
I say banish God into the gaps
If he can’t help us understand the simplest facts
I want a relaxed God of infinite naps
We’ll be all right without him, just give us a chance

The weak and the strong, who got it goin’ on
We lived in the dark for so long
The weak and the strong, Darwin got it goin’ on
Creationism is dead wrong
Track Name: Artificial Selection
Artificial selection, it starts with a question
How did people ever get cows, chickens and pigs
And other animals and plants to act so domestic?
We took them from the wild and we bred them, brethren

Welcome to the Charles Darwin Bicentennial
So, why does everybody think this guy is so special?
Maybe because a man was born two centuries ago
Who, as far as anyone knows, was the first
To recognize the underlying pattern behind the pageant
Affectionately known as “life on this planet”
He was the first to understand it
The first to translate his amazement
At the wonder of life, into a way to explain it
So this is a celebration of Darwin’s greatness
In the form of a rap – some would say “a debasement”
I would say “be patient”, just think of this as
A manifestation of the evolutionary equation
A recapitulation of life, a re-enactment
So, how do you go from amoebas to rappers?
You open The Origin of Species, and you read its chapters
The first chapter is about the impact of people’s actions
On farm animals, pets, and domestic crops
Where did they come from? From original stocks
Of wild animals and plants, which were selected and crossed
For the best properties, and thus became the effect of their cause
But of course, not every selection was conscious
Still, even if breeders in ancient Egypt couldn’t see this
And had no idea how to rework the features
Of a species of sheep or increase the sweetness
Of their peaches every season, when they chose to seed it
Or to feed it or to breed it or to weed it out and delete it
‘Cause they didn’t see it as needed, whether the preferences in question
Were for bigger chicken breasts or whippets with a thinner mid-section
Or if it was just an inner predilection to pick the best in
Any mixed collection, that’s artificial selection

Artificial selection, it starts with a question
How did people ever get cows, chickens and pigs
And other animals and plants to act so domestic?
We took them from the wild and we bred them, brethren

But there’s nothing artificial about domestication
Ant colonies keep domestic aphids
It’s just an arrangement where one hand washes the other
We protect the cow, and the cow offers the udder
And even if there’s never a conscious discussion
If our little selections and little preferences
Can change and enhance the critical differences
Between wild and domestic breeds over the centuries
Then maybe that can explain… everything
In nature it isn’t us that makes the selections
It’s just survival and reproduction in the midst of competition
Where slight differences that arise randomly
Get selected by the pressures applied environmentally
And eventually species divide like a family tree
Into everything alive, from a fly to a manatee
So how does this apply to the craft of the MC?
Well, variation can be found in the styles on display
Rappers all have different techniques when they’re on stage
And the results can be seen in the audience’s face
Like, for instance, at this moment, you all look amazed
Like guppies removed abruptly from their aquatic space
Your minds are probably racing over questions of style and race
And genre and time and place, and some of your eyes are glazed
Like “For God’s sake, how long will this take?!?”
But if you all feel that way, then soon I’ll be replaced
By someone more entertaining, like maybe Lil Wayne
This is the rap version of the doctrine of Malthus
It’s the proportion of hungry mouths
To food resources in the form of captive audiences
Where crowds of two or more will always
Be at least half as common as performers
Can you see the mathematical problem?
But survival on stage is a non-random process
‘Cause those who get massive responses tend to influence
Those who aspire to get massive responses
So if you say I sound like, for instance, Eminem, then I’ll say
“That’s preposterous!” But if you catch me grabbing my crotch
And acting obnoxious, then I might have to acknowledge
That this is a form of imitation modified by experience
Which is similar to the genetic basis of inheritance
Except it’s part Darwinism and part Lamarkism
With genes and culture co-evolving as we rock to the rhythm
But whether you think cultures really evolve
Or if it’s just a silly metaphor that’s pretty but false
Or whether you’ve never even thought about that
I still think Darwin can teach us a lot about rap
And vice verse; ‘cause it’s all about that
Competition for status with intricate language
Delivered in battles, and it’s all about getting that
Fitness advantage and the different adaptive behaviour patterns
That have us acting crazier than capercaillie mating dances
But hey, that’s natural selection; so just sit back and listen
And witness the evolution of the rap profession

Artificial selection, it starts with a question
How did people ever get cows, chickens and pigs
And other animals and plants to act so domestic?
We took them from the wild and we bred them, brethren

Scratch: “Too many MCs, not enough Mics” (Pras from the Fugees)
Track Name: I'm A African
I’m a African, I’m a African
And I know what’s happenin’
I’m a African, I’m a African
Archaeologists know what’s happenin’
You a African? You a African?
Do you know what’s happenin’?
I’m a African, I’m a African
Geneticists know what’s happenin’

No I wasn’t born in Ghana but Africa is my mama
‘Cause that’s where my mama got her mitochondria
You can try to fight if you wanna, but it’s not gonna change me
‘Cause it’s plain to see, Africans are my people
And if it’s not plain to see then your eyes deceive you
I’m talkin’ primeval; the DNA in my veins
Tells a story that reasonable people find believable
But it might even blow your transistors;
Africa is the home of our most recent common ancestors
Which means human beings are all brothers and sisters
So check the massive evidence of Homo erectus
And Australopithecus afarensis in the fossil record
And then try to tell me that we’re not all connected
The fossil record has gaps but no contradictions
And it complements the evidence in your chromosomes
So I came to let you know about your ancestral home

I’m a African, I’m a African
And I know what’s happenin’
I’m a African, I’m a African
Archaeologists know what’s happenin’
You a African? You a African?
Do you know what’s happenin’?
I’m a African, I’m a African
Geneticists know what’s happenin’

Yeah, it’s plain to see, you can’t change me
‘Cause I’ma be a Homo sapien for life
Yeah, it’s plain to see, you can’t change me
‘Cause I’ma be a Homo sapien for life

Yeah, the red is for the blood in my arm – it runs in the veins
Of all my cousins from the same African mom
And the black is for the melanin, which I guess I lost
A mutation with benefits that offset the costs
At least in the North, after massive glaciation
My family passed through some adaptive radiations
We started as Africans, and then became Eurasians
And then one final migration made us Canadians
But it’s back to my origin, ‘cause I understand
For every colour of man, Africa is the motherland
So I’m comin’ back, that’s my right of return
I’m only speakin’ the facts, which I invite you to learn
We came from Africa first; Charles Darwin predicted it
‘Cause that’s where modern chimps and gorillas live
So the green is for the envy in the eyes of intelligent design
Advocates and scientific illiterates

I’m a African, I’m a African
And I know what’s happenin’
I’m a African, I’m a African
Archaeologists know what’s happenin’
You a African? You a African?
Do you know what’s happenin’?
I’m a African, I’m a African
Geneticists know what’s happenin’

Yeah, C-A-N-A-D-A
Asia, U-K, U-S-A
R-U-S-S-I-A
No, it ain’t ‘bout where you stay
It’s ‘bout the motherland

C-H-I-N-A
A-U-S-T-R-I-A
Oz, Tazmania, and Ukraine
No, it ain’t ‘bout where you stay
It’s ‘bout the motherland

M-O-N-G-O-L-I-A
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
Sweden, Denmark, and Norway
No, it ain’t ‘bout where you stay
It’s ‘bout the motherland

C-O-L-O-M-B-I-A
Costa Rica, I-N-D-I-A
First nations in A-L-A-S-K-A
No, it ain’t ‘bout where you stay
It’s ‘bout the motherland
Track Name: Creationist Cousins
Creationist cousins, they’re my relations, I love ‘em
But when they talk about Jesus and Revelations and Judges
I’ve gotta take it up with them
‘Cause there’s a better explanation for the place that we come from, okay?
Creationist cousins, they’re my relations, I love ‘em
But at the dinner table we get on some crazy discussions
I’m always questioning their basic assumptions
And saying, “yes I believe we came from monkeys, okay?”

That’s the idea that most enrages Darwin’s detractors
The idea that we came from ape-like ancestors
Some people still question this, and say: “If we came from
Monkeys, then how come there’s monkeys still in existence?”
Allow me to illustrate a similar instance
I’m descended from Dutch Calvinist immigrants
Who came to Canada in the 1950s
And I still have second cousins who live in the Netherlands
But they’re not my ancestors; they’re my relatives
Since we have common genetic elements
Inherited from our great grandparents
That’s just three generations back, but here’s the relevance
Three thousand generations back, human beings all have
Common ancestors, so really we’re all relatives
Which also means all relationships are relatively incestuous
Further back we have common ancestors with chimps
And gorillas and elephants and plants, and billions
Of years back our ancestors are all single-cellular
But what I find incredible isn’t this principle
Of “unity of common descent”, that’s just elegant
What’s incredible to me is that some of my living relatives
Still believe the earth was created about seventy-odd
Centuries ago – around the time of the Egyptians
By a benevolent God and that this same God
Is currently manipulating the elements
And that evolutionism is devilish
Did I mention that I was descended from Calvinist fundamentalists?
Well, I still have cousins as dedicated representatives
Approximately twenty percent of them
And at the dinner table we debate statistics
And those debates get kind of interesting
They go like this...

Creationist cousins, they’re my relations, I love ‘em
But when they talk about Jesus and Revelations and Judges
I’ve gotta take it up with them
‘Cause there’s a better explanation for the place that we come from, okay?
Creationist cousins, they’re my relations, I love ‘em
But at the dinner table we get on some crazy discussions
I’m always questioning their basic assumptions
And saying, “yes I believe we came from monkeys, okay?”

I say, “Creationism is unscientific
Ninety-nine percent of practicing scientists accept evolution
As the best explanation we have for living systems
Why? Because there’s overwhelming empirical evidence!”
And they say, “Baba, science isn’t run by consensus
That one percent is quite significant
Those are the creationist scientists who have found signs
Of intelligent design, but whenever they try and
Publish it in the mainstream literature, they get black-listed
Besides, your presuppositions are materialistic
Maybe all that evidence scientists say they’ve collected
Just empirically proves that God wants our faith to be tested!”
So then I say, “But that means your benevolent God
Is perpetrating a massive intellectual fraud!
So either evolution is the victim of a frame job
Which explains all of its predictive successes
Or we have to separate God from the scientific method”
And that’s when my sister steps in
To defend a different kind of creationism – Cultural creationism,
Also known as “social constructivism” or “post-modernism”
She says: “Baba, the Western scientific method
Is just as subjective as every other cultural tradition
Except it’s just better at pretending to be objective
Because, like, all behaviour is socially constructed
And mostly, it just promotes injustice
And, like, gender roles have nothing to do with genitals
They’re just a way for men to control women’s goals
And try to turn us all into Playboy centerfolds
Haven’t you heard about that tribe in the Amazon
Where the woman does the man’s jobs and hunts and plants the crops
And brings home the food for the man to wash?
Um, I can’t remember exactly what that clan is called
But I know it’s a published fact
Because I read about it in my Women’s Studies class
And it proves that gender is a socially constructed act
So how does sociobiology explain that?”
And all I can do is come back with more statistics
About the high percentage of indigenous
Societies where polygamy is prolific
And about human sexual dimorphism
And the different reproductive investments between men and women
Which of course then gets my religious cousins offended
Because it doesn’t credit Genesis with our humble beginnings
And, let’s just say, the discussions are endless
But it isn’t about who is impartial; no one’s impartial
It’s about how much evidence you can marshal
And how you deliver the parcel
And when my relatives argue, I have to have faith
That we can reach the genuine article in a rational way
That’s a different kind of faith than my cousins have
In divine creation, but hey, to all of my relatives
And fellow primates, I say
If it makes you feel better, go head and pray
In fact, here’s how I pray in a secular way
I say, “I have creationist relatives and relative apes
And I wish them all happiness, whatever their faith
And I wish myself patience, since I relish debates
Let us all be respectful and still tell it straight”

Creationist cousins, they’re my relations, I love ‘em
But when they talk about Jesus and Revelations and Judges
I’ve gotta take it up with them
‘Cause there’s a better explanation for the place that we come from, okay?
Creationist cousins, they’re my relations, I love ‘em
But at the dinner table we get on some crazy discussions
I’m always questioning their basic assumptions
And saying, “yes I believe we came from monkeys, okay?”
Track Name: Survival of the Fittest
We livin’ this ‘til the day that we die
Survival of the fit, only the strong survive

There’s a war goin’ on outside no man is safe from
You can run but you can’t hide forever
If you come to my block, you’ll see some territoriality
A place where kill or be killed is the mentality
But get it straight, it’s just a necessary strategy
You gotta play the hand you’re dealt; you can’t magically
Escape from the habitat that you was born in
Three homicides in my neighbourhood this mornin’
Cops came and kicked the crooked door in, with no warnin’
And started roughin’ up my young cousin
She’s only seventeen and got a bun in the oven
Plus a concussion, but she ain’t done nothin’
So keep your mouth shut and don’t jump to judgment
On the lives we’re livin’ – just close your eyes and listen
While I break down some homicide statistics
If you’re thinkin’ the criminal mind is just vacant
You’re mistaken, this is calculated risk takin’
We’re livin’ in a situation with a low
Life-expectancy, and a major discrepancy
Between the haves and have-nots, and you wonder
Why the padlock on every cash box is smashed off
C’mon, you can’t call it “pathological”
Naw, that’s illogical; you can try to understand it
But you can’t stop it though, not unless you address
The root causes, the conscious and unconscious
Decisions to discount future prospects
C’mon, it’s obvious – the beat keeps bouncing
The homicide rate keeps mounting, which leads
To steep discounting, and a lot of violence
But it’s not a virus; it’s a rational response
To high risk environments and short time horizons
With high stakes and highly visible prizes
And you wonder why we’re criminal-minded
Hey, you can’t say we’ll get satisfaction if we’re patient
With self-control and delayed gratification
When the only job that pays is casket-makin’
And death is the ultimate plan cancellation
So check the facts and recent data releasin’
You’ll see a pattern of increasin’ competition
A bunch of young guys all stugglin’ and status seekin’
And causin’ the crimes that make the social fabric weaken
And life expectancy also predicts teen pregnancy
The need to leave a legacy genetically
Will never be completely controlled contraceptively
Yeah, that’s transparent – imagine if your kids
Would never meet their grandparents, unless you followed
The Bristol Palen plan for parenthood
And then they say, “Ooh, these young girls are so damn careless
Getting’ pregnant before marriage; it’s such a tragedy”
Apparently it’s also a reproductive strategy,
Especially when you can see them adjusting actively
When their circumstances change; in both the cases
Of the young ladies with babies and the male risk-takers
You see people adapting to their situations
And it’s the same in different places and with different races
This is not about ethical justifications
It’s evolutionary psych, and it’s just the basics
And still people call this behaviour “maladaptive”
Because of our reaction when violence happens
But if we really want to change the outcome
Then maybe we should just start questioning how it’s adaptive
And the bottom line is that inequity and life
Expectancy are the ultimate causes of crime
And the results of crime; to me that’s true
The two combine together in a feedback loop
But I got some moves to make, so I’ll be back soon
Just don’t ask me what I’m about to do
‘Cause I can’t say, so it’s left to untold fact
Until my death, my ghost will stay alive
Survival of the fit, only the strong survive

We livin’ this ‘til the day that we die
Survival of the fit, only the strong survive
Track Name: Worst Comes to Worst
“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”
Charles Darwin, Descent of Man

Worst comes to worst, my people come first
But my tribe lives on every country on earth
I’ll do anything to protect them from hurt
The human race is what I serve

Some people got good friend; I’ve got disparate friends
They live on different ends of earth, but just pretend
We actually get to the end of the time of tribalism
Like Obama said, and dissolve the lines of difference
As man advances in civilization
And small tribes expand into larger bases
And communities, the truest reason tells each individual
That’s it’s not that difficult to extend our instinctual
Sympathies to all members of one nation
Like, for instance, notice how everybody loves Canadians
Overseas, even if they’re personally unknown
Well so do I! But not so much when I come home
But I know there’s nothing to stop me extending this basic
Sympathy to the people of all nations and all races
By the way, those are Charles Darwin’s statements
Paraphrased, a man ahead of his time
Extending his imagination and formidable mind
Into a future where all human sympathies combine

Worst comes to worst, my peoples comes first
But my tribe lives on every country on earth
I’ll do anything to protect them from hurt
The human race is what I serve

In the South Pacific Islands, there’s certain animals that don’t
Experience fear, like Galapagos iguanas
They never had predators, so their adaptive responses
Evolved to be as calm as a pack of Dalai Llamas
So then, why do we have to live with violence
When this whole planet could be like a pacifistic island?
Do we need fear to escape invading aliens?
The only predators here are called Homo sapiens
And yeah, we can be dangerous, but we can also be
Motivated by affection and reciprocity
Or by that Old Testament animosity: an eye for an eye
But that philosophy’s got the whole world blind
Let’s not pretend it’s gonna be a cake-walk to end it
If violence is an instinct it’s not entirely senseless
But the logic of human destiny is reciprocal altruism
Yes we can change our perspectives
And as soon as this is widely comprehended
Then I predict we’ll be as calm as Galapagos finches

Worst comes to worst, my peoples comes first
But my tribe lives on every country on earth
I’ll do anything to protect them from hurt
The human race is what I serve
Track Name: Group Selection
“Sure, I could get up at dawn, go to a job I hate that does not inspire me creatively whatsoever, or I could get up at noon and learn how to play the sitar” Bill Hicks

Survival of the fittest is such a bleak vision
Are we really just a freakish collision of selfish genes
Selfishly promoting their own individual interests?
Well, maybe, but sometimes those interests are collective
Still, “survival of the fittest” is a phrase easily twisted
By anybody out to justify the meager existence
That some people live with; it’s a phrase often enlisted
By parasites eager to benefit from these differences
In the nineteenth century it was aristocratic eugenicists
In the twentieth century, genocidal menaces
Used “survival of the fittest” to justify their death sentences
And gangsters still use it today to degrade their victims
Not to mention the purveyors of disaster capitalism
These are all examples of “Social Darwinism”
But none of this is based on scientific evidence
Merely showing that something exists in a state of nature
Doesn’t give it a moral basis; that’s a false correlation
Competition can sometimes increase motivation
But evolution is also driven by cooperation
Just ask the dictyostelium nation
Bacteria combined into eukaryotic cells
And became the organelles within their symbiotic shells
And we have fifty trillion of those in our individual selves
So we’re like physical spaces where creative collectives dwell
And this applies to the societies we erect as well
‘Cause survival of the fittest also applies to groups
And the fittest group makes the best combined moves
So, can’t we all just get along, whatever we try and do?

Where’s the altruism? Where’s the love? Where’s the altruism?
All these vultures talkin’ ‘bout survival of the fittest
But the atruism y’all, come on, where’s the altruism?
We need to get together on a common vision!

Group selection just puts me in an altruistic mood
Like: Yeah, love thy neighbour! What’s that?
You need some sugar? Okay, come by later!
Of course I’ll do you favour; why’s that?
‘Cause I’ve got the compassion of a vampire bat
If you need some food, I’ll do what I can
So what if we’re not related; you’re still my man
You’re still my sister; I feel high, man!
This universal love is good stuff, god damn!
And you don’t have to reciprocate either
Because karma is a sophisticated teacher
Karma isn’t just energy waves in the ether!
No, karma’s in the way everyone hates a cheater
Cheater detection will keep you in check when
You jump cues and refuse to treat people respectfully
So go ahead, take what you want, run me down
‘Cause I believe what goes around comes around
Liars and thieves and those who try to deceive
Get dealt with by the immune systems of society
And survival of the fittest? Don’t let it baffle you
Because fitness isn’t “fitness”, no, it’s aptitude
Between the environment and whatever’s adapted to it
And in social animals like humans, aptitude is attitude
And my attitude is there’s nothing we can’t do
As a human family group, as long as we have rules
To keep the cheaters in check; I figure we can’t lose
We can go to the moon and back this afternoon
As long as what’s bad for me is also bad for you
So let’s just all get together and have some food
And put an end to this endless feud – is that cool?

Where’s the altruism? Where’s the love? Where’s the altruism?
All these vultures talkin’ ‘bout survival of the fittest
But the atruism y’all, come on, where’s the altruism?
We need to get together on a common vision!

“And if we evolve the idea, you see, the planet might be more compassionate, and something like heaven might dawn” Bill Hicks
Track Name: Hypnotize
Sicker than your average; picture
Any artistic practice, with musicians or actors
Or visual craftsman; just pick an example
And imagine the competitive advantages
That would come with recognition if you have the gift
Now picture the artist with unlimited cash, and with
Picturesque women always givin’ him glances
Or, if you’re picturing a woman, then picture the advances
Of the handsome prince whose attention she catches
Now, picture them livin’ happily ever after
And havin’ kids faster than Angie and Brad Pitt
All because they have this gift with craftsmanship
Now take it from the master of the adjectives
I think it’s adaptive; it has to be instinct
In synch with the rhythm, just listen and sink
Deep into the subconscious of the obnoxious
Sexual selection, I’m just tickin’ the boxes
And if you’re feelin’ it then mission accomplished

Baba, Baba, Baba, can’t you see
Sometimes your words just hypnotize me
And I just love your turns of phrase
So even though you’re still broke I love you anyway

Yeah, I could fill you with real scientific
Lyrics, but I confess that my mind is twisted
‘Cause I’ve been listenin’ to Kanye, Nas and Jay
While reading Richard Dawkins on the opposite page
So now this whole rap thing seems awfully strange
Talkin’ ‘bout, “He got game, and he’s not real
And he’s got chains” but wait, that’s a peacock’s tail!
‘Cause you never hear them say they got it cheap on sale
Which means that bling is meant to represent
How much they really spent, and at the end of the day
That’s the definition of a “fitness display”
Like a bowerbird’s nest, which takes hours of work
And makes the females catch a powerful urge
Just like a style of verse or an amazing flow
But it takes dedication and it takes a toll
‘Cause the best displays are unfakeable

Baba, Baba, Baba, can’t you see
Sometimes your words just hypnotize me
And I just love your turns of phrase
So even though you’re still broke I love you anyway
Track Name: Sexual Selection
I’m cocky and single and I got your genes tingling
Girl, with my costly signaling
Rockin’ the rhythm and all you keep thinkin’ about
Is the offspring we’ll bring into the world
And you’re awfully tempting, so you got my genes tingling
Too, with your costly signaling
You’re cute, but you gotta be considerate
And have a sense of humour, or you will not be interesting

Charles Darwin saw natural selection as the most serious cause
Of evolution, but what was going on with bird songs
And peacocks? They follow mysterious laws
And then Darwin had a curious thought
It probably occurred to him while explaining his theory
To a young Victorian blond, whose face displayed
A mixture of desire and feverish awe
The immediate cause of which Darwin clearly saw
So he said: “My dear, descent with modification comes from
The struggle for survival and reproduction
Hence, the reason for some structures must be seduction”
In fact, Darwin’s brain was probably one such structure
Just as peacocks’ tails show off the genes of the top males
And likewise the songs of nightingales, the fighting skills
Of elephant seals, and minnows with colourful scales
These are all traits that sexual selection has shaped
Through the female preference to get with the fittest mates
But in human beings that selection goes both ways
Pretty much anything that’s just for display
And isn’t meant dissuade or chase predators away
Was probably selected for in a sexual way…
But wait, isn’t this just such a display?
I mean, I really thought I had something to say
But, is it just a demonstration of my DNA?
And, so what if it is? Great, what’s to explain?
Okay, maybe a couple of things
First, to say that something ornate
Like complex language, first evolved as a seductive display
Doesn’t mean that people only use it just to get laid
Darwin leaves Freud in the dustbin, okay?
For instance, I could use a urine stream to put out a fire
But that doesn’t mean the penis evolved as bush fire fighter
This is a theory of language function
A theory of where it comes from; what it’s used for now
Is a separate discussion; so which was it?
Was language originally a mechanism for survival or reproduction?
Can you talk a predator out of attacking?
Can you talk a parasite out of infecting?
Can you talk a potential mate in to consenting?
Potentially, right? Hence, presenting
The grand unified theory of rhyme
The mating mind uses lyrical signs, combined with wit
And wordplay, conversation, humour and different narrative styles
To appraise the fitness of mates, both for the purpose of marriage ties
And for mates of the more temporary kind
These are the humble roots of the literary sublime
We’re all just Shakespearean primates verbalizing our cherry behinds
But how could we test this theory of mine?
Ideally, we could use experimental holding zoos
Filled with human subjects, and with an overhead view
We could observe which breeding pairs reproduce
And how often they use their verbal ornaments to seduce
We could even separate them into control groups
To see whether male or female vocals
Are more prone to be used to stimulate hormones
Although, it’s true that this sort of method isn’t normally approved
If only there existed in a state of nature
Some cultural group preoccupied with makin’ paper
And parading naked women shakin’ their money makers
In front of competitive males displaying mating behaviour
While trading their creativity for sexual favours
If such a group existed, I predict it would be a major
Player in the entertainment industry, and would be in major
Danger of being overwhelmed by angry player haters
But I may have to save some of my research for later
And how do I answer the charge that I’m participating
In this mating dance myself with these dazzling bars?
That isn’t hard – I plead guilty
I worked hard to achieve this ability
And if it also gives my genes visibility then so be it
But, I confess, it also reveals my unique disability
See, my tendency to tell these monkey fables
And funny medieval tales, generally fails
To attract any nubile young females
It does attract women a lot though
All highly-educated and post-menopausal!
I know, isn’t it awful?
I get mobbed after my Chaucer shows
By grandmas thanking me for making it possible
For them to appreciate a hip-hop flow
And, you might ask, where are their granddaughters?
My guess is, they’re at gangster rap concerts
But that’s how sexual selection works
Any mutation gets tested first
And if it doesn’t get spread, then it gets purged
So this experimental hip-hop mix
Where it gets crossed with literature and lectures
Will probably get the burial that it deserves
That is, unless you spread it like whispers

I’m cocky and single and I got your genes tingling
Girl, with my costly signaling
Rockin’ the rhythm and all you keep thinkin’ about
Is the offspring we’ll bring into the world
And you’re awfully tempting, so you got my genes tingling
Too, with your costly signaling
You’re cute, but you gotta be considerate
And have a sense of humour, or you will not be interesting
Track Name: DNA
We are made of DNA
We are made of DNA
Deoxyribonucleic
Acid is what we are made of
We are made of DNA
We are made of DNA
Strands of double helix
Are where all these bodies came from

In the story of life on this crazy planet
The protagonist isn’t man, no
It’s a microscopic information package
Called deoxyribonucleic acid
The DNA strand has the same basic plan
In every living thing, every plant
Every animal, every little flea
Has the same proteins with a certain percentage
Of the same genes arranged identically
It’s no coincidence; it means every living thing
Has a shared ancestor with every living thing
This is true for Jews and Christians and Sufi mystics
And Buddhists and every religion and superstition
If you can listen to this it means you’re passing through
This existence on a wave of DNA
And you’re just one of its newest inventions

We are made of DNA
We are made of DNA
Deoxyribonucleic
Acid is what we are made of
We are made of DNA
We are made of DNA
Strands of double helix
Are where all these bodies came from

Now if you want me to tell you how a simple molecule
Could build bodies so well with such an obvious wealth
Of variation and adaptation, well
In DNA’s case it’s ‘cause it copies itself
And makes little mistakes, which would not really help
Except that one in every million is a slight improvement
And leaves more copies, whether mice or humans
And that’s what keeps this whole life thing movin’
Changing and growing and competing for mates
‘Cause that’s the only way to keep your DNA
Up in the race, which explains a lot
Like how animals and plants all behave in the wild
So next time you shake hands or break dance
Or make plans, don’t forget the straight facts
The information that makes your brains and hands
Comes from one place: DNA strands

We are made of DNA
We are made of DNA
Deoxyribonucleic
Acid is what we are made of
We are made of DNA
We are made of DNA
Strands of double helix
Are where all these bodies came from

Yeah, this goes out to Watson and Crick
Who discovered the twist
And to the Human Genome Project
And to those who speed up the process
I mean like digital PCR
Record a gene faster than a VCR
This is the future so you better get used to it
This is what we are
Track Name: Performance, Feedback, Revision
Performance, Feedback, Revision

The first version of this rap was pretty primitive
It was like, “Yo, yo, the origin of species
Ain’t no feces, dawg, believe me…”
And that’s all I could think of
So then I thought, this needs to be re-written
And sometimes people ask: “How does your show get written?”
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
And how do I generally develop my lyricism?
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
And how do human beings ever learn to do anything?
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
And evolution is really an algorithm that goes
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
So the genetic code of every living creature was written
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
See, the genes are like a text with a thousand pages
And revision occurs in the random changes
That come from mutations, and when they see the light
That’s the performance, that’s the phenotype
And natural selection is the feedback side
That’s about who survives and whose genes catch rides
In the next generation, yes, what I’m saying
Is that a rap performance like this is the best illustration
Of the way descent with modification works
‘Cause the performance is necessary to change the words
To decide which have an impact and which to send back
To the drawing board, in fact I just did that
When you failed to react, ‘cause any line can change
And mutations occur when I improvise on stage
‘Cause up until this moment, everything I said was off the page
But… (Freestyle improvised rhyme)
And that’s how my show gets written and re-written
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
And anyone can use this algorithm to learn anything
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
But remember, you get the feedback, and you make the decision
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
You wanna know about evolution? This is the definition
Like this: performance, feedback, revision
Track Name: Darwin's Acid
In 1859 Darwin spilled the first splashes
Of his universal acid, and the effects were like magic
Burning human arrogance into ashes
In exactly the same way that Copernican math did
No, the stars don’t shine just to improve the view from earth
No, we’re not the centre of the universe
No, we weren’t created in the image of Jupiter
No, we’re not so special, and yes, the truth hurts
But that’s how evolution works – once it’s been applied
The acid burns into the superstitious side
Of the human mind, and fills it with light
It even dissolves the original sin of pride
The pride that says: “I’m a special creation
And my creator has given me dominion over nature
And he has the power to replenish his creatures
So if species go extinct, he can recreate them later
And if he doesn’t, well that’s just part of his plan”
Ah, but Darwin’s acid is hard to withstand
It plucks the arrogance deep from within the hearts of man
And teaches us never to build our houses on sand
But instead to try to understand why we’re here
One species among millions in this biosphere
Each with millions of ancestors, whose fighting spirits
Combined to give us this great survival gear
These minds, these limbs, these incredible tools
Perfected by millennia of competitive use
And yes, these attention-seeking genitals too
Without them, these living forms could never improve
It’s such an elegant view, full of breadth and grandeur
And yet, some people react with depression and anger
Like: “It’s so unsympathetic, so viciously random!
What’s the point of compassion, or ethical standards?
If this is just a game that organisms are trapped in
Genetically adapting to environmental factors
Then there’s no responsibility for individual actions!
Where’s the governing dynamic?!?”
Well, once again Darwin gives us some answers
He says yes, everything from violence to violets to viruses
Consists of organisms adapting to environments
If you’re alive, it’s because your ancestors were the best survivalists
They were the finalists in the genetic Olympic Games
Every one of your ancestors lived to reproductive age
And they were all better than their competitors at getting laid
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be sitting here today
There’s something inspirational in this vision of Darwin’s
And it goes like this: organisms – like us – are not isolated
Organisms are part of an environmental mix
So your decisions affect evolution – it isn’t directionless
Now, before you dismiss me as a mad environmentalist
Just try to imagine how natural selection applies
To countries that have industrialized
Companies live and companies die
And when customers buy based on a company’s green plan
That affects the economy, just ask Alan Greenspan
Cultural evolution is ours to reinvent
Wait, can we affect current events? Yes We Can
And when we choose who to sleep with and reproduce
Our sexual choices affect the gene pool
So it’s simple, all we need to do is refuse
To sleep with mean people, and things will improve
Especially women – on you the pressure is greater
‘Cause men will always do what it takes to get into your favour
That’s just in our nature, so if selfish behaviour
Was a sexual graveyard, the effects would be major!
In each of these cases, our intentional efforts
Can play the part of environmental pressures
I can say: “This is a space where a peaceful existence
Will never be threatened by needless aggression”
I can say: “This is an ecosystem where people listen
Where justice increases over egotism
This is a space where religions achieve co-existence
And racism decreases with each coalition”
This is my vision of Darwinism, and how we all factor in
Each of us is a part of the environment; we pass through it
And change it, and affect the way that others adapt to it
And after we get to look back and see how we impacted it
And maybe have a laugh if our sense of humour is still alive
And what did Charles Darwin do? Darwin threw some light
On the origin of mankind, and he left us with skewered pride
But he taught us that, yes, there’s grandeur in this view of life

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one, and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful, and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species