Video: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Wu-Tang’s GZA on Hip Hop and Science

An astrophysicist and a rapper walked into a studio…

StarTalk Radio is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s NSF-sponsored show, and is distributed on YouTube.

This episode features GZA (pronounced “Jizza”), a founding member of the 1990s hip hop collective The Wu-Tang Clan, and Christopher Emdin (@chrisemdin | Columbia University), who teaches at the intersection between science and hip hop. (See also a recent London Sun report on GZA and Emdin’s recent initiative, E=MC.)

I enjoyed hearing from both the artist and the educator about what’s needed to thoroughly integrate science with an artistic form like emceeing. Emceeing is storytelling that requires high quality language skills, curiosity, and the ability to relate distinct concepts to create a new point: lots and lots of metaphor, contrast, and vivid imagery, as well as mastery of rhythm and rhyme.

During the show, Tyson also asks about violence in art (a discussion raised again after Newton), and how artists like GZA can inspire their audiences to engage science in more relevant ways. Tyson started out a skeptic and ended the interview

Cool clip. 34 minutes long.


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