Gamer Soundtracks: Funky49 & His Dirty Apes Discover Science
by Curtis Silver
Music often covers a predictable range of topics, most of them having to do with some sort of love and/or loss. When it comes to hip-hop there are even more predictable topics, most having to with some sort of ego stroking. In the world of nerdcore however, most hip-hop acts are strikingly different. Not only different from the mainstream, but different from each other. There are acts that focus on comics, on video games and even Harry Potter. Now though, hip-hop artist Funky49 has delivered a brand new theme to music – science.
Not only does Funky49 drop the science raps, but it’s just not just a passing fancy for him. After performing live at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, FL, Funky49 then went on to attend adult space camp in Hunstville, Alabama where he was fully inspired with a whole new album of science raps which became Dirty Apes Discover Science. The album is an amalgamation of science inspired tunes, from electrons to referencing the Large Hadron Collider.
Funky49’s vision when it comes to performing has been to not only entertain, but to educate. This is why his live sets are never boring and his intelligence when it comes to science & engineering bleeds through into his music. This is another reason why science and engineering should be important to kids, so there can be more science themed rappers when Funky49 hangs up his personalized jersey. <
The album delves into the broad regions of science, such as with the opening track “Science Like us” a fun track to kick the album off. From there, it’s all about “Particle Business” and “My Electron.” Funky49 has a true love for all things science, and it’s a mystery how he’s able to rhyme words like ‘quantum physics.’ There is also a nice romantic tune on the album, “Ben Franklin is my BFF” where Funky49 professes his love for the man who was such a boon to the scientific community.
While not the most cleanly produced album, and not entirely clean in language either, Funky49 has presented a very interesting social and music experiment. Name the last rap album you listened to that was entirely about scientific subject matter? Though there is one track (featuring Dale Chase) called “Google That” that is about the search engine rather than science. This is probably the most accessible song on the album, if you aren’t totally into science.
Then there is the spaced out track “Dr. Lederman Breaks it Down.” It features audio quotes from Dr. Leon Lederman from “The Nature of Science” podcast and analog synth samples from @redvoid. While Funky49 does not rap on this track, it’s a nice addition to an album that celebrates the existence and study of science and the universe around us. The galaxy is a massive place, that we can’t fathom it’s greatness without our minds exploding. Funky49 dreams every day of exploring the galaxy and this is his way of doing it.
So to sum it up, Dirty Apes Discover Science is a very interesting and curious experiment of it’s own. My estimation is that the concept will be refined and Funky49 will return with a slate of new science inspired raps to intrigue us and teach us. Funky49 has broke new musical ground, at least conceptually, on choosing such a subject matter that does not normally get much attention in any form of popular media.
Funky49 will be performing live at the 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival on April 28th & 29th in Washington D.C. Additionally on the 28th he’ll be doing a few songs for The Planetary Society at the National Air & Space Museum. Be sure to download the album at Funky49’s bandcamp page & follow him on Twitter.