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An animated rap album about the evolutionary origins of religion. It's time to eff with the ineffable!
An animated rap album about the evolutionary origins of religion. It's time to eff with the ineffable!
314 backers pledged $24,100 to help bring this project to life.

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$24,100

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Have you ever helped to crowdfund a rap album? How about a rap album that communicates SCIENCE? Or an ANIMATED rap album about the scientific study of RELIGION? Well, that's what I'm working on right now, with the help of some friends. 

You can listen to two songs here, but I have eight songs finished, and backers of this campaign can download all eight right away, as a sneak preview of the album.

Songs from the upcoming album!
Songs from the upcoming album!

 1) "Religion Evolves"

2) "Big Gods"

The Rap Guide to Religion is my unique brand of 'peer reviewed rap' bringing together hip-hop, comedy, and evolutionary behavioural sciences, striving to make sense of nature's most unpredictable primate: us! I'm performing The Rap Guide to Religion at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, but only a few thousand people will come to the live show, so I'm Kickstarting this animated rap album in order to share the material with as wide an audience as possible.

So what's the current scientific thinking on religious beliefs? Do they provide an evolutionary benefit, or are they nothing but a virus of the mind as Richard Dawkins says?

Theologians and philosophers have sought the meaning and purpose of life for thousands of years, often finding it in religion. Then Darwin's theory of evolution turned the world upside down. The supernatural was discarded as the source of answers to the natural world and replaced by the blind force of evolution. And now, with decades of scientific research on hand, we can finally make sense of religion using the tools of evolutionary thinking.

The field is called "Evolutionary Religious Studies" and I'm using my talent and love of rap and science to share this research with a wide audience by recording a rap album on the subject. I'm also teaming up with an amazing group of animators and illustrators led by Dave Anderson from http://bloodsausage.co.uk to create a series of animated shorts (approximately 20 minutes long in total) based on the album, so we can make the songs maximally entertaining and accessible. Check out a sample of Dave's animation work below.

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I think these ideas can provide a unifying view that heals some of the rifts between the world's religions and between believers and nonbelievers. The evolutionary view of life includes all of us, and is filled with insights into the human condition, including our "belief instincts." Whether you are an atheist or a devoted believer, The Rap Guide to Religion will leave you with a wealth of fresh insights on religion and human nature.

Science and religion are old adversaries, offering competing explanations of the world. This project will show that, in a way, they are fully compatible, but only once we understand religion as a product of naturalistic forces amenable to scientific investigation.

Help us explore this exciting subject in a daring and original format, support the creation of something extraordinary, get exclusive rewards, back our campaign to share a simple but profound message with the world: religion evolves!

One of the rewards for backers
One of the rewards for backers

Risks and challenges

My previous project was The Rap Guide to Evolution, which makes this something of a sequel. "Evolution" has toured the world, played off-Broadway, and generally been a pretty big hit (we recently sold out the Sydney Opera House). That project was also made into a rap album and a series of music videos that teachers now use for getting students into the subject, available online at: http://www.rapguidetoevolution.co.uk

I have already written and recorded demo versions of eight songs for the album, and the music production team and animators are already signed up and ready to go. I'm confident – with your help – that we can successfully fulfill this project.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Exclusive digital downloads, including immediate download of "Religion Evolves" preview songs and download of the final "Rap Guide to Religion" album in early 2015.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Deluxe CD: A signed copy of the finished "Rap Guide to Religion" CD mailed to you. Includes digital downloads.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DVD Limited Edition: A signed copy of The Rap Guide to Religion animated short film on DVD. Includes digital downloads.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    T-shirt: Exclusive original Rap Guide to Religion design. Available in a variety of sizes. Includes digital downloads.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Swag pack: all the rewards above, mailed to you with a thank you note.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    All of the above rewards plus a personal thank you freestyle rap left on your answering machine.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    One of the animated characters will be based on you! Send us a photo and one of the characters in the animated short will bear an uncanny resemblance.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Special Dedication. Baba will dedicate one live performance of The Rap Guide to Religion to you, and give you a freestyle rap shout out live on stage, filmed and sent to you.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Your own personal rap song! Baba will custom write you a one minute rap on a subject of your choice, record it, and send you the mp3.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Short performance. Book Baba for a short performance of 15 - 30 minutes at your event. Subject to availability, travel costs not included.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Full performance. Book a full performance of The Rap Guide to Religion (or another of Baba's shows) at a venue of your choice. Subject to availability, travel costs not included.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Executive Producer. Your name listed on the album credits, the DVD credits, and the live show handbill wherever The Rap Guide to Religion is performed or distributed. Includes your choice of any other reward.

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Funding period

- (40 days)