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Create a Science Rhyme to Win a Shout-Out From Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA

Teachers in New York are using rap to teach complex science. PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Ray Suarez reports on the effectiveness of this strategy and interviews hip-hop legend GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.

In his upcoming solo album, “Dark Matter,” Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA raps about the Big Bang — the moment that the sun, moon, stars, planets and all matter contained within sprung from chaos, from nothing.

The legendary rapper performed the new material at Bronx Compass High School, where he hopes to pique students’ interest in science by introducing hip-hop to the lesson plan. GZA has teamed up with Columbia University professor Christopher Emdin and ten New York City public schools to use hip-hop to teach everything from biology to physics. Students write verse about scientific concepts and compete against one another for the best lyrics. Now you can, too.

Enter your own science rap or hip-hop verse for a chance to win a PBS NewsHour mug signed by GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan along with a personal video shout-out from the rap legend himself. Our contest is modeled after the Science Genius competition, a partnership between GZA, Emdin and Rap Genius. Entries will be judged by Emdin and two of his Columbia University Teachers College graduate students.

How to submit a video:

  1. Create your science rap video according to the guidelines below and upload it to YouTube.
  2. Click here to submit your entry in the contest. (You must log in to your YouTube account.)
  3. Now, choose the video from your channel and submit it as a response to GZA’s YouTube video.
  4. Videos will be reviewed and approved before they become visible on the PBS NewsHour channel.

Competition guidelines:

  • Entries must incorporate at least one scientific topic/concept into 16 bars of verse. (16 bars is the length of a traditional verse, and a bar is made up of beats of four.)

  • The main topic/concept of the rap must be referenced in different ways at least three times in the verse.

  • Be creative in your expression of the science (E.g.: envision yourself either as somebody involved in the scientific process or an object undergoing the scientific process. Draw connections between your real world experiences and the concepts themselves.)

  • Information must be scientifically accurate and verifiable.

  • Lyrics must rhyme, and incorporate metaphor/analogy

  • Entries are due by Friday, May 3.

If you have questions about the contest or you are having trouble uploading a video, email science reporter Jenny Marder at jmarder@newshour.org.


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