Earlier this week rapper B.o.B. Tweeted at length on his belief that the Earth is flat and that NASA has been hiding the truth. Neil deGrasse Tyson, in response not to B.o.B. so much as to all the Tweets he received from the rapper’s Twitter followers, explained at length why B.o.B. has it wrong. NPR has a selected sampling from both parties.
As the NPR piece notes, B.o.B. responded with a diss track (since taken down) alleging that Tyson is part of the flat Earth conspiracy (and that NASA is part of the Department of Defense). Tyson’s nephew is an educator who raps, and prepared a response track.
Now that everyone else was paying attention, The Nightly Show reached out to Tyson to appear on the show, which he did on Wednesday. He capped the show’s coverage on the beef, and this time his response was strictly spoken word (and contains language NSFW).
(The Daily Show also weighed in on the beef, but not during the broadcast program.)
I think the removal of the diss track suggests this will return to the conspiracy theory hole from whence it came. Besides, the rap battles worth viewing with Neil deGrasse Tyson are things like this:
After all, this was more of a fight than an educational opportunity. If B.o.B. is deep enough into the notion of a flat Earth to claim Tyson is being paid off, the back and forth (and the piling on via social media) could be people seeking out a fight rather than being deficient in understanding. As he tells Popular Science, Tyson did not seek out B.o.B. or The Nightly Show, he responded to the show’s request and the rapper’s followers. Maybe he didn’t pick the fight, but he was willing to join it. Perhaps the wrestler in him won out over the scientist.