The Genius at MIT. Photo courtesy of
The Genius at MIT. Photo courtesy of

The Science of Hip Hop with GZA (Part 2)

The Genius at MIT. Photo courtesy of
  • Free Audio
  • Ad-Free Audio

About This Episode

The role of science in hip hop culture is the theme that runs through the conclusion of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interview with rapper GZA. Prof. Chris Emdin explains hip hop’s fascination with science, circles of motion and “cyphers” while GZA describes how the philosophical/cultural movement known as “The Five Percenters” awakened his interest in the universe. There’s a spirited discussion between Neil, Chris and Chuck Nice about the distinction between real science and pseudo-science, the importance of a creative
approach to learning, and the drawbacks of the “banking model” of education. GZA raps about his early days, and schools Neil about the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan, the golden age of MCs, and the lack of lyrical creativity among current rap artists. Plus, “The History of the Low-Hanging Pants” tells us the background to why kids wear their pants so low – the truth is guaranteed to surprise you as much as it does them.

(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 2).

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

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more

Related Episodes

Episode Topics