Sunday, August 07, 2011

Who Won? Einstein vs Stephen Hawking

Epic Rap Battles - Einstein vs Hawking: Who Won?

I have recently become obsessed with this video:

It features a rap battle between Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Choosing the winner of a battle of this magnitude needs a judge with the wisdom of Solomon. Maybe even someone wiser than Solomon, since he was all about slicing babies in half. I have appointed myself as that judge.

Diss Quality

Einstein: Starts well with 'Take a seat Steve, oop, I see you brought your own.' The next part, about being schooled and being Hawk-ward, is weak. He comes back strongly in round 2, landing huge punches with 'if you could stand', and 'bigger than the hole in your black hole theory was.' The 'back of my hand' mocks the alleged abuse Hawking suffered in the care of his ex-wife. A cruel but well-aimed diss.
Hawking: Starts poorly with 'moustache on a troll doll' and the 'TI-82' gag ensures he finishes with a big whimper instead of a big bang. However, in between is the most epic diss in history: 'There are 10 million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million particles in the universe that we can observe. Your mama took the ugly ones and put them into one nerd.'
Score: Einstein 10 Hawking 9

Bigging Up Oneself

Einstein: Alby scores well here, reminding us of the things he's most famous for - relativity and that equation. The Albert E equals MC squared lyric is smooth as silk. He also points out that he's one of the giants of scientific history.
Hawking: Claims to be the Snoop Dog of science, and if he's standing on the shoulders of giants that would make him slightly taller than a giant. Admits his work is based on Einstein's, though.
Score: Einstein 10 Hawking 9

Real-world Application

Einstein: I tried to diss a Finnish woman by saying, 'You can't destroy matter or me' but she just blinked at me. Einstein's raps are too specific to be used in polite society.
Hawking: I sang the 'your mama took the ugly ones and put them into one nerd' bit at two different German women (long story). One gave me the finger, the other laughed so hard she stopped breathing.
Score: Einstein 0 Hawking 1

Rap Skillz

Einstein: His German accent adds to the percussive nature of his distinctive voice, but his harsh timbre and screechy anger could get tiresome.
Hawking: The Professor scores highly through his innovative use of autotune. The extended 'You' in 'You've got no idea' and the long pause before the 'particles' line show an impressive sense of flow. He sets these moments of liquid mellow against his opponent's constant abrasiveness, but 'like gravity stretches time' shows that he can staccato with the best of them.
Score: Einstein 8 Hawking 10

Teachin Da Kidz Da Science

Einstein: Einstein whomps out an ace rhyme: 'You can't destroy matter, or me.' Do kids understand the law of conservation of energy? They do now.
Hawking: Tells us how many particles there are and that gravity stretches time. Also, 96% of google searches for 'Carl Sagan' came from the rap battle video (bake raps from scratch refers to Sagan's quote - 'If you want to bake a pie from scratch, you must first create the universe' - which is why I never learned to cook). Add 99.6% of searches for p-brane (related to string theory) and Hawking edges this one.
Score: Einstein 8 Hawking 9

Dance Moves

Einstein: Sometimes goes over-the-top with his moves, and throwing an apple at a man in a wheelchair isn't cool, even in the heat of a rap battle. But when he's on, he's on. Forget splitting the atom - Einstein has his own way of doing the splits:

Einstein does the splits

Hawking: At first, Hawking doesn't seem to do much more than roll around. Fail. But wait! On closer inspection, a face which seemed as wooden as Keanu Reeves' is as subtly expressive as Campbell Scott's. A twitch of the eyebrow, a roll of the eye, and a sly grin - it's enough.

Score: Einstein 9 Hawking 8


Einstein: Speak and Spell brought back memories of my childhood, but didn't make me laugh. And referencing Brief History of Time was amusing. But in general, he comes across as too angry to score highly.
Hawking: Hawking finds a good balance between dissing, self-aggrandisement, and playful self-deprecation. 'Dropping mad apples' brings Newton to mind, and there's a nice pun on pea-brain. The particles joke is amazing. But my favourite is '12-inch rims on my chair, that's how I roll.' While Einstein takes himself too seriously, Hawking's humour shines like a supernova.
Score: Einstein 8 Hawking 10

Who Won?

Final Score: Einstein 53 Hawking 56



  1. PeterNice4:41 PM

    Perfect analysis. I agree with every point!

  2. Anonymous10:32 AM

    Nailed it! I had to read it twice because I only realised it was supposed to be funny near the end...


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