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Friday, June 14, 2024

20 questions with Baba Brinkman

Meet Canadian rap artist and playwright Baba Brinkman.

Fresh off a five-star run at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a six month off-Broadway run, Baba appears next at the Waterfront Theatre for one night only in The Rap Guide to Religion on July 23. Part rap, part comedy, part TED Talk, this new work explores the various ways and means by which religion evolves in our species, leaving audiences with a new appreciation of religion, and its critics.

Meet Baba Brinkman

Baba is a Canadian rap artist, award-winning playwright, and former tree-planter who has personally planted more than one million trees. He grew up in Vancouver and currently lives in New York with his wife, the neuroscientist and television host Dr. Heather Berlin, and their daughter Hannah. To date Baba has written or co-written five 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. The Rap Guide to Evolution, won a Scotsman Fringe First Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination, and was featured on US national television on The Rachel Maddow Show. In 2014 the show enjoyed a sold-out week at the Sydney Opera House.  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.

20 Questions with Baba Brinkman

1. Your first job.

Planting trees.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

Marine biologist.

3. Your pet peeve.

Evasion of accountability.

4. Your hero.

Charles Darwin.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

Game of Thrones.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

My eyes are slightly different colours.

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

A knife, fishing gear, and an archive of wikipedia on a solar-powered laptop.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.


9. If you were not a performer or playwright, what would you be doing right now?

University lecturer.

10. Hero or villain.

Hero, like Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

Try not to mistake your personal preferences for universal moral principles, or vice versa.

12. Your favourite playwright?


13. The last book you read.

Storms of my Grandchildren by James Hansen.

14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be and why?

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, because I live by mischievous impulses but also want to question and investigate why.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

Baba Brinkman: He loved rap more than rap loved him.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?


17. Your idea of happiness.

Accurately predicting the future preferences and behaviours of myself and those around me.

18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty year old self?

You’ll be fine, keep at it.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

I opened for Stephen Hawking at a science festival a few years ago and he watched my set from the side of the stage.

20. To be or not to be?

To be, for the moment.

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