Anyone who works with me will tell you…I am a walking mixed tape. On the boat. Singing. In the lab. Singing. Underwater…yes…still singing (not so good for air consumption). With the exception of science, music is my greatest passion. So as you can imagine, when I started mixing the two, I found an outlet that worked for me. At least this way, if marine ecology doesn’t work out, I have a fall back as a science rapper. And like every science rapper….I have my fair share of people who inspire me. Those brilliant lyricists whose rhymes and rhythms span generations, change the status quo, and give us all a reason to pump it up and dance in the car (you know you do it). Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop, Busta Rhymes, Wu-Tang Clan, Missy E, Nas, Tupac…honestly there are too many to name, but you get the picture. However, as a science rapper specifically, there is one whose musical medleys I have always found quite epic. Reason one being…he drops the beats on Darwin in a way I have never hear before….
Check it (includes some of my faves):
Baba Brinkman is a Canadian triple threat. Rapper, writer, “former tree-planter”, and probably a whole list of other fun things. Learn more about Baba’s work here: www.bababrinkman.com
Anyways, since hearing his science raps a couple years back, I was like… “This guy is freaking awesome…it would so cool to meet him one day.” Not actually thinking this was possible I put it on my bucket list and went on living the life of an aspiring science rapper (more scientist than actual rapper, but I do try)… that was until last week.
As you all know from my previous postings, I will be one of the lucky souls in attendance at the 2013 ScienceOnline conference. Now I have known for a long while that this conference was going to be off the chain. From networking, to science-ing, to collaborating, you name it, #SciO13 will have it (Shout out to Bora, Karyn, and Anton…for making the magic happen). What I didn’t know however, due to some outrageous oversight on my part, was that indeed B. Brinkman himself is going to be a converge speaker. How…how did I not know this?! ScienceOnline how do you continue to prove your unarguable epicness time and time again!?! So with this knowledge, I must now revise my previous post of goals to meet at #SciO13…
Goal #1: Rap with Baba Brinkman
Currently working on the deets to make this collab happen… A check on the good ole bucket list. Time to channel my inner Eminem and get to the drawing board.
Send some good mojo.
For many of you, perhaps your only encounter with plankton comes from being well acquainted with the diabolical arch nemesis of the crabby patty flipping Spongebob Squarepants. Unfortunately, in his constant attempts to disturb the peaceful community of Bikini Bottom, Plankton gives the greater free floating community a rather bad rap.
In reality, however, there is a pelagic party going down in the plankton, as TED so vibrantly displays in a new video out this month. From zooplankton to phytoplankton, this fish-eyed view gives us the real glimpse into what it’s like to comprise one of the most crucial links in the oceanic food web. So hop on the current, B.Y.O.B (Bring your own bioluminescence), and let’s get the party started.
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
- Marshall Mathers “Eminem”
In 2002, these legendary lines defined a generation and introduced unarguably one of the best rap songs of all time. (Yes, unarguably. Rolling Stone said so. See 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. ) Personally, despite some of his slightly questionable life choices, I am a devoted fan of the real Slim Shady and his ability to wield words in ways that no other white boy from Detroit has ever been able to do. Or really any white boy for that matter, but I digress.
Recently, while working on a project I have been trying to put together, I had consulted the Google oracle for some much needed inspiration and came across a video in which I was reminded of these lyrics by the one person that tops the list of “People I Need to Have Lunch with Someday.” None other than the world-renowned oceanographer, advocate of the seas, and one of my greatest heroes, “Her Deepness,” Mrs. Sylvia Earle.
Now you maybe thinking, “Um…Are we really comparing Sylvia Earle to Eminem right now? Really?” Yes, ladies and gents. Yes we are. And this is why.
This video documents Mrs. Earle’s speech upon being awarded the TED Prize in 2009, bestowed only to those with “Wishes Big Enough to Change the World.”
First of all, don’t you just feel inspired. I get goosebumps every time I watch it. What a woman. What a vision. I have recently read Sylvia Earle’s book “Sea Change” (which I recommend you go out and buy right now) and she is truly a living legend.
Earle’s plead for the oceans and the life contained in them should be one that hits us all. Stating that, “our fate and the ocean are one,” Earle puts it well into perspective that we an inexorably linked to the seas and as such we are responsible for what happens to them, if not for our very survival. Since her speech in 2009, some things have indeed improved for our oceans. Initiatives are being taken to put into place Marine Protected Areas all over the world and legislation is being enacted to conserve what has been driven to the brink of extinction. I believe we are in fact on the forefront of major “Sea Changes.” However, many things have also become much, much worse. Pollution and marine debris are now ubiquitous in the oceans, fossil fuel dependency is unrelenting and despite protections being put into place, overfishing is taking a deadly toll faster than populations are allowed to recuperate. However, I do not believe that Earle’s message was all doom and gloom. Quite the contrary. Her’s is a message of hope. A call to action.
This was about the point in the video where the lyrics to “Lose Yourself” started playing in my head. Let’s compare.
“We have one chance right now to get it right.”
“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo”
- Marshall Mathers
It’s so close it’s almost copyright infringement. (If Sylvia Earle listened to rap too, I don’t think there is any way she could possibly be any cooler).
Granted, Eminem is referring to the cutthroat music underground he had to endure growing up on 8 mile road to become the illustrious rap icon he is today and Earle is referring to the somewhat different, but equally cutthroat problem of saving the world’s oceans, let’s just say for argument’s sake, the message is essentially the same.
This is our one opportunity. This is our once in a lifetime chance to get it together and turn things around for the better. You must ask yourself, “Am I going to be apart of the solution or am I gonna add to the compounding problem?” More than that however, we are at the point where you must not just be a generation of thinkers. We must transform into a generation of doers. We must help to fulfill the wish that earned Sylvia Earle the prestigious TED prize in the first place:
“I wish you would use all means at your disposal–films, expeditions, the web, new submarines– and campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas–hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”
What means will you implore before opportunity passes you by?
To read more about Sylvia Earle’s wish to protect and restore the oceans and how she is taking action,
Check out Mission Blue.
Props to: TED, Sylvia Earle, Eminem, Google Images
And just because it’s awesome…
Warning: May contain explicit content, only play when the little kiddies are not in the room. Thank-you.