The Science of Hip Hop with GZA (Part 1)

GZA and Neil deGrasse Tyson - Credit: Jeffrey Simons
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About This Episode

If you think rap music is just about violence, then you’re about to have your preconceptions shattered. Columbia Asst. Professor of Science Education and hip hop culture expert Dr. Christopher Emdin joins Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice to explain how he uses rap to connect inner city youth to science. For instance, Chris says that Kanye West’s use of bullet sounds in a song can teach kids the physics of the Doppler Effect. But the soul of the episode comes from Neil’s interview with rapper GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. They explore science as a creative muse, and GZA talks about the difference between how he thinks of his music and how fans relate to albums like Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). GZA talks about growing up in the ‘hood and how violence often is a choice. Part 1 ends with Neil and The Genius spitting a cosmic verse together, leaving us hanging for Part 2 next week.

(Note: Portions of this podcast appeared previously in a StarTalk Radio video on The Nerdist Channel.)

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Science of Hip Hop with GZA (Part 1).

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
  • Guest


    Musician, Co-Founder of Wu-Tang Clan
  • Guest

    Christopher Emdin

    Dr. Christopher Emdin
    Assistant Professor of Science Education at Columbia, Director of Secondary School Initiatives in the Urban Science Education Center

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