Okay, so as some of you may have already noticed – this man is not a clown. But back in 2008 I was drinking in a bar trying to work out what fringe show I wanted to see next when a discarded flyer for ‘The Rebel Cell” caught my eye. It wasn’t the flyer itself but simply a review quote that said “A rap version of 1984” – I like dystopian, I love rap, I was in.
This was my introduction to Baba Brinkman and as he, and his then band mate Dizraeli (Rowan Sawday – check him out), stormed through their performance I could only sit and enjoy the wit, intellect and skill that they bought to their genre.
Chris Rock once performed a comedy routine with the phrase “Love rap music, tired of defending it” and I think these guys would have agreed fully with that sentiment, this show was all about making a statement through an often unfairly derided genre.
I have caught Baba on a number of occasions since 2008 and always enjoyed myself. There aren’t punchlines but there are lyrics that contain fantastic wit, intelligence and, of course, straight up fire bars!
This year Baba is back with his Rap Guide to Culture and it is the continuation of a proven theme. Well researched, intellectual material delivered in a format that I wish more of my science and humanities teachers had used at school – I genuinely believe I would have retained more.
From social and cultural tribes to patterns of behaviour and even a word with a great back story that I had never even heard of before today – Shibboleth – this is another clever show that doesn’t always quite mesh with a typical mid afternoon Fringe crowd. That, however, does not make the performance any less impressive.
As I mentioned at the top Baba is not a clown (nor does he claim to be) but he is an incredibly talented lyricist, linguist and performer. His act is a niche one that I would one year love to see do something mainstream like front the Horne Section just to shake things up.
But until then why not go and catch a show where, as Warren G once said, “rhythm is life, and life is rhythm”.
Clown Stars: * * * *
@Gilded Balloon – Edinburgh