There’s a Science Rap Battle Brewing and We Couldn’t Be More Thrilled

It’s not every day you get a highly publicized, totally sincere spat between two celebrities about science. It’s so rare that people actually create parody videos about imagined battles between scientists, just so we can imagine some drama between the press conferences and the journal publications.

Here’s how it all started: on Saturday, a rapper I haven’t heard of named B.o.B (presumably named after those off-brand robot vacuums) started tweeting some ridiculousness about the earth being flat:

And you know that Twitter’s official science pedant Neil de Grasse Tyson had some things to say about this.

Though through it all, he still maintained that the guy can think what he wants to think.

And then…it happened. B.o.B released a track called Flatline. (You can read the lyrics over at Update: the track appears to have been removed from B.o.B’s Soundcloud, so we’re including a third-party YouTube video instead).

Its content is to be expected: this is all a big conspiracy, he’s the only one “free thinking,” the Holocaust didn’t happen…typical conspiracy theorist rhetoric. But it also includes an out-of-context recording of Tyson talking about the shape of the earth. And this:

Aye, Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest
They’ll probably write that man one hell of a check
Aye, I’m over here on this side of town
Come on over, over, over, over here try to clown

Which, in some circles, might be considered a challenge to a rap battle. (It’s possible that B.o.B only understands scientific facts if they have a beat behind them. If so, I invite him to listen to some of our lovely Lab Tracks.)

Of course, Neil de Grasse Tyson is a scientist, not a rapper, and a scientist trying to beat a rapper in a rap battle is like a rapper trying to debate a scientist on science. (You could just yell “conspiracy!” and win, I suppose.) But Tyson does have a rapper nephew, and he came to fight for his uncle’s honor.

In your face, flat earthers. I cannot wait to see where this goes next.

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.

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