On the most recent episode of Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe they interviewed Gripp, aka Marshall Gillson, a talented musician and rapper. Gripp’s newest album is filled with songs with a skeptical message and strong arguments for atheism. After a few song samples played on SGU I knew I had to hear more of Gripp’s work.
I’ve always been a fan of good rap music, but often find myself unmoved by the lyrics of modern, popular rap. That’s not to say that all rap music is unintelligent or boring. There is plenty of excellent and thoughtful rap out there, but Gripp’s new album has the feel that it was made for me. This feels like the kind of music I would make for myself if I had any musical talent.
When I downloaded the album from Amazon I imediately listened to it, beginning to end, twice. Two things became immediately clear; Gripp is passionate about music, the quality of the tracks proves it, and Gripp is passionate about thinking, the quality of his lyrics proves it.
I don’t think they’re listening/ just indulging their cognitive dissonance//
superstition/ all sorts of ridiculous implements//
like ghost hunters abusing their instruments//
and acting like we’re dismissive/ I’m pissed/ man, I’m getting sick of this//
Maybe first you should develop hypotheses//
that you then test and try to falsify honestly//
As for astrology/ it’s hardly a threat//
I can kill it with two words: Barnum effect//
That sort of thought process is hard to respect//
You can’t spar with the best/ you haven’t built your arsenal yet//
Mark ’em for death/ I will pummel ’em/ Defenses? Better double ’em//
-“Oh Yeah?!” (Feat. Jay Novella)
None of the music you hear on the album is sampled, Gripp composes everything himself and with the help of a pianist friend, Dylan. Also, the production company behind releasing his music is his own. He produces, records, engineers, and releases all his music stating, “I like having my hands in every aspect of the process… That way, I can engineer the effect of the art from single lyrics all the way up to the arc of the album..”. As if all that isn’t impressive enough, when Gripp isn’t writing music he’s writing code. He is currently earning a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech.
All this knowledge comes through loud and clear in his music. I like every song on the album, but my favorite is probably “Claim to Truth”
Aw, I’ve heard it all, every argument and every reason//
every appeal to ignorance and every special pleading//
every postmodern distortion of how truth is defined//
like we’re all Neo in the Matrix bending spoons with our mind//
like God just reaches down and changes rules all the time//
That stupidity is truly sublime/ Since when can they decide//
to just shift the burden of proof to the side//
and then say that we should prove it’s a lie?/ Homie, please stop//
We need not/ look further than Russell’s teapot//
or Occam’s razor to give it a clean chop//
At best it’s unnecessary; at worst it’s a plague//
We’re well-versed in your ways/ Pull back the curtain of hate//
They’re moralizing/ from distorted lies/ an ancient con mentality//
‘cos every religion is making statements on reality//
-[1st Verse] “Claim to Truth”
Don’t get the impression that his music is just about skepticism and science, there is much more to it than that, it’s also about the human condition.
Can you tell I’m an instant fan? Download his album, it costs as much as two cups of coffee, it will entertain the crap out of you, and you’ll be supporting an artist that really deserves it.
Head in the Cloud