GZA, one of the three founding members of hip hop group, The Wu-Tang Clan, has been delivering a series of lectures on astrophysics to university students. The GZA, also and aptly known as The Genius has combined the lyrical skills he developed through being one of the world’s most respected hip hop emcees with his knowledge of the Universe to teach Astrophysics to students, subjects such as the Big Bang Theory and star creation.
On the surface, GZA’s lyrics are a hard, gritty representation of the tough New York neighbourhood in which he grew up. Listen more closely or read his lyrics however and you’ll discover that GZA teaches science through his lyrics and has been doing so since he started his music career over 20 years ago. Here are a couple of examples…
From The GZA, Knock Knock (2002) :
“A solid mass of minerals, easily broke down
Hard rock MC’s ya nothin’ but compound”
From The Legend of the Liquid Sword (2002):
“Why U-N-I-verse run like clock works forever?
Words pulled together, sudden change in the weather
The nature and the scale of events don’t make sense
A storm with no warnin’ you’re drawn in, environments
Gravity that’s gone mad, clouds of dust and debris
Moving at colossal speeds, they crush an emcee
Since this rap region is heavily packed with stars
Internal mirror in the telescope, noticed the Czar”
During an interview on StarTalk Radio hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrass Tyson (pictured above, left), GZA hears how his music has had a positive influence the life of a fan…
As a teenager it was not my school but it was Wu-Tang who taught me the idea of knowledge wisdom and understanding. It was because of this idea that I went into physics. I am now a high school science teacher with a passion for sharing my love of science and improving science literacy.
In a recent lecture, GZA teaches a class of students at the University of Toronto as he recites the following rap about the creation of the Universe…
Before space and time thought produced a spec of light,
It was infinitely hot, so extremely bright.
Within the centre of this great shining,
There was massive energy and it was expanding in great timing.
Within this fireball was all of space,
Of every special place for information it encased.
Read the rest here…