Baba Brinkman grew up on a musical diet of mixtapes by the likes of Run-DMC, The Beastie Boys and Eric B & Rakim. But the New York-based rapper, who today raps about climate change and consciousness, almost didn’t pursue his innate talent, when as a teenager he concluded that “I’m too white, my upbringing was too safe, I’m too alien to the world that this comes from”.
Fortunately for the world, he did pursue rapping and uses it as an agent for positive change. The Canada-born rapper Baba Brinkman has produced a series of hip hop albums covering topics including religion, consciousness, evolution and medicine. But one subject that he holds closest to his heart and he has become most renowned for is the environment, most notably climate change and the effect that it is having on the environment.
His 2016 album release, The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos, breaks down the science, politics, and economics of climate change, following its surprising twists from the carbon cycle to the global energy economy. To paraphrase the Notorious BIG: “Mo carbon, mo problems.”
Climate Chaos confronts both the scale of the challenge and also the failings of human psychology that make it such an easy problem to ignore. His unique brand of “peer reviewed rap” is fact-checked by leading scientists, and adding their voices to the soundtrack are scientists, activists, contrarians, and even the Pope making for a funny and refreshing take on climate change.
Climate change has always had a communication issue when it comes down to getting people to take note and to take action. This is where Baba Brinkman believes rap is a force for change, as The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos opens up the conversation to those audiences who have perhaps not been exposed to the conversation on climate change or have not been engaged before.
“A lot of people that care about climate change are frustrated by how hard it is to get people to pay attention and make it part of their lives,” Baba Brinkman said in an interview with CBC Radio. “This can help to move the needle, hopefully.”
A former tree-planter who has personally planted more than one million trees, Baba Brinkman is the child of climate activists, and a self-made hip-hop artist who has made a career out of hip-hop science communication, performing for crowds off-Broadway and internationally.
In addition to making science rap songs, Baba Brinkman also produces music videos, where possible, for those songs. If you would like to help to fund the rapper in making more music videos, check out his Patreon page.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com