Rapping about astrobiology

By Phil Plait | January 18, 2009 2:33 pm

Going through my YouTube subscriptions today I stumbled on a video that’s pretty interesting: a guy rapping about astrobiology.

I am not an aficionado of rap — I don’t think ABBA ever did it, did they? — but I kinda like this one despite the sometimes awkward lyrics (his accent is cool, too). His use of the sounds of moving across the radio dial is clever, and how many rap songs do you know that reference Frank Drake and Carl Sagan?


Comments (26)

  1. Was the rapper’s name Oort Kuiper? Hilarious!

    I did like this despite my general dislike of the genre (like you). I even like it better than the LHC rap (though I didn’t hate that rap the way you did). ūüėõ Nice find!

  2. davidlpf

    Plus scenes from Cosmos and Contact as well.

  3. 11/10 really complete rap!

    BTW, does your “afficionado” refer to the spanish word? If so, the actual word is “aficionado” ūüėČ

  4. bjn

    I hadn’t put together Sagan’s “Cosmos” beach image in the “stars as sand” sequence with the “Contact” beach scene. I’d have to look at the “Cosmos” episode again, but I don’t think the beach scene from “Contact” is shown – they just look the same. If that’s the case, this would be a fun discovery of a “Contact” visual tribute to the TV series.

  5. Oh that’s odd. I had originally misspelled aficionado, and corrected it with the spellchecker. I’m not sure how that got messed up! I must have re-un-spelled it.

  6. Oort Kuiper? Mwahahahaha!

    Man! This guy is a major space buff (or should I say “nerd”?), rapper or not. And he definitely has chosen astronomy as his angle. Good for him.

    And, er… Phil… ABBA?!?! Jeez. THAT’S embarrassing!…

  7. This is pretty darned cool… gotta save the link to that one!

  8. Brian

    Please note that Merriam-Webster lists “afficionado” as an acceptable alternate spelling in English.

  9. Mike

    That’s the Brits for you. Even their rappers are well educated. O.o
    Quite infotaining!

  10. MadScientist

    My favorite is still ‘The Galaxy Song’ even though the quoted speed of light is off by a huge amount.

  11. hale-bopp

    He even references the famous “Wow!” signal…nicely played.

  12. Eris

    This isn’t “rap” this is Hip-Hop. The rhyming itself is called rap.

    This is good stuff! Better than most of the “nerd-core” out there. :)

  13. Redx

    Hip-hop is what you are; rap is what you do. :) Or whatever. I’m not and I don’t, but there’s too many definitions out there to really get pedantic about it. The terms get used, somewhat, interchangeably in both common parlance and in an awful lot of media.

    Modest Mouse’s 3rd Planet has managed to find it’s way into fairly heavy rotation in on of my Pandora stations. I’m fond of it.

    Nice catch BA. It’s always great to start off the work week with a good distraction.

  14. Pirx


    Depends on what you consider ‘way off’. It says
    “Twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.”
    It’s closer to elven million, admittedly.

  15. chaboyax

    english rap is gonna take over the world
    really it is becomming much better than the tired old hip hop from the us
    still prob be diffrent when eminem comes back AGAIN

  16. Gary Ansorge

    I think he stole(borrowed) the radio dial mixing from the Grateful Dead movie(1970s).

    Another indication that as societies mature, some members get smarter,,, Perhaps the good old USA is finally approaching maturity. I guess we’ll know for sure when OUR rappers have as good a grasp of science as this fellow.

    Gary 7

  17. Quiet Desperation


    You can dance, you can jive, and have the time of your life, but major respect loss, there, Phil. Sorry.

    And double curses for now putting “Dancing Queen” in my head for probably the rest of my day. :-(

  18. Thats the problem with rap as an art form, it has a bad name because most of the artists choose mundane and base subject matter. It turns off so many people, they you get comments like ‘I am not an aficionado of rap’

    It is maturing into a diverse art form with real creativity. Unfortunately, it is still burdened with the majority of the rappers talking about their cribs, hoes, and dollaz.

    As an aficionado of music with meaning, thanks for digging this up.

  19. TSFrost

    It’s like a modern day “Schoolhouse Rock”. An updated Inter-planet Janet. :)

  20. Fauxnetikz

    I made it to 1:47. I just couldn’t take the background music anymore. It was the same 6 notes over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Kind of like actual rap. And hip-hop. Hence why I like VERY few songs from either genre. You can have the greatest lyrics, stage presence, message, and everything else, but if your background music is monotonous and/or annoying, you’ve lost me.

  21. Jessie

    Thanks for digging this up. It’s hilarious. And I thought one of the beach clips was from Contact too.

    Hey, I liked the LHC rap! But I actually listen to ‘nerdcore’, so my taste in music is tainted. With that in mind, I like ABBA too.

    …crud. Now I’ve got Dancing Queen and the LHC rap stuck in my head simultaneously.

    Science is slowly making it’s way into mainstream music… I think. I was in a store in the mall yesterday and I heard Pluto by Claire and the Reasons. I don’t know if that’s mainstream or not, but it does explain why Pluto lost it’s planet status.


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