Baba Brinkman

Baba Brinkman

“A Brief History of Rhyme”

In this talk, rap artist Baba Brinkman demonstrates that rap music isn’t just music, it’s also an innovative poetry form rich in linguistic playfulness. In the same way Shakespeare was a lyrical entertainer of the past, Brinkman believes that “rappers are the main lyrical entertainers of the present.” Rap is simply a modern, innovative, and playful form of poetry—a contemporary style of a timeless art form.

In this entertaining talk, with examples spanning Eminem and Jay-Z to Chaucer and Lord Byron, you will learn how the techniques used rappers for crafting memorable rhymes have ancient antecedents.

Here is an end-of-the-day summary of TEDxNavesink Play, skillfully put into rhyme by rap artist Baba Brinkman in one of his signature “rap-ups”. For those of of you unable to attend the event, just check out the other videos from TEDxNavesink Play to see the talks he’s referencing.


About Baba Brinkman

Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rap artist, award-winning playwright, and former tree-planter who has personally planted more than one million trees. He has a Masters in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature from the University of Victoria.

To date Baba has written or co-written four hip-hop plays, which have toured the world and enjoyed successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and off-Broadway in New York. He has also released ten original rap albums on his independent label Lit Fuse Records.

Baba is also a pioneer in the genre of “lit-hop” or literary hip-hop, known for his adaptations of The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh. He is a recent recipient of the National Center for Science Education’s “Friend of Darwin Award” for his efforts to improve the public understanding of evolutionary biology.

The Rap Guide to Evolution (“Astonishing and brilliant” NY Times), won a Scotsman Fringe First Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination, and was featured on US national TV on The Rachel Maddow Show and at the Seattle Science Festival opening for Stephen Hawking.