By: Henry Eden ~Staff Writer~
For Americans well-versed in the world of pop culture, it is no mystery that some of the most entertaining and polarizing celebrities are often ones who have made their livings as rappers.
We commonly see feuds break out more than once a year and follow the fights on Twitter, Instagram and even through subliminal messaging placed into the lyrics of their latest hit singles.
It is rare however, that one chooses to go head to head with one of the world’s top astrophysicists in a debate that was officially settled almost 600 years ago by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
Rapper Bobby Ray Simmons, known by his stage name B.o.B, took to Twitter to spread his message: The world is flat.
The artist famous for his hit song “Airplanes” posted a series of messages describing his theory that if the world were round, it would be obvious when looking out over the landscape, tweeting that “no matter how high in elevation you are… the horizon is always eye level… sorry cadets… I didn’t want to believe it either.”
The rapper continued his campaign by posting a picture of himself in the mountains of New York at sunrise with the skylines of Manhattan and Newark, N. J., in the background. His tweet read, “The cities in the background are approx. 16 miles apart… where is the curve? Please explain this.”
His tweets were received with skepticism by his 2.3 million followers, many of whom chose to write back dismissing the rappers claims.
B.o.B was unphased by the backlash and continued to tweet, writing “I’m going up against the greatest liars in history… you’ve been tremendously deceived.”
Soon after, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, a recipient of NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal for his work on President Bush’s Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry, joined the conversation.
Tyson, famous for his T.V. series Cosmos, tweeted “Earths curve indeed blocks 150 (not 170) ft of Manhattan. But most buildings in midtown are waaay taller than that.”
In response, B.o.B created and released a new track on Soundcloud that appeared to challenge Tyson to a rap-battle.
Tyson responded by stepping away from Twitter to appear on Comedy Central’s Tonight Show with Larry Wilmore, where he was able to fully address the matter.
“If you want to think the world is flat, go right ahead. But if you think the world is flat and you have influence over others, as with successful rappers, or even presidential candidates, then being wrong becomes being harmful to the health, the wealth and the security of our citizenry,” Tyson said in a message to the rapper. Tyson stated that claims like this are what stops progress from being made.
“That’s right B.o.B – when you stand on shoulders of those who came before you might just see far enough to realize the earth isn’t f**king flat,” Tyson told viewers. Tyson ended his speech by dropping his microphone in an attempt to explain the concept of gravity to B.o.B.