The Twitter feud between astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and rapper-singer Bobby Ray “B.o.B” Simmons Jr. over whether the Earth is round has escalated into a full-on rap battle.
The spat started Sunday when the “Nothin’ on You” rapper began tweeting about why he rejects scientific consensus that the Earth is round, mocking the scientific community and insisting that the Earth is flat. B.o.B posted an image implying that NASA is full of “edge of the world gatekeepers” who have promoted a conspiracy.
“I’m going up against the greatest liars in history... you’ve been tremendously deceived,” he tweeted to his more than 2 million followers. The rapper also pressed Twitter users for an explanation as to why he could not see Earth’s curvatures in pictures he posted of flat horizons.
Tyson responded the next day to the rapper, briefly detailing why the Earth is round.
“Flat Earth is a problem only when people in charge think that way. No law stops you from regressively basking in it,” he said. Tyson then seemed to imply that despite B.o.B’s musings, he was a fan of B.o.B’s songs: “Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music.”
B.o.B retaliated via the music platform SoundCloud, putting out a song called “Flatline” to double down on his theories and taunt his critics. Throughout the profanity-laced track, the rapper dismissed science as a “cult” and a “club full of liars,” blasting Tyson and invoking Holocaust denier David Irving.
Surprising many, Tyson responded with a song of his own on Tuesday afternoon, entitled “Flat to Fact.” Penned and rapped by his nephew, the astrophysicist took B.o.B to task. “All those strange clouds must be messing with your brain,” Tyson fired back, a reference to B.o.B’s 2012 hit “Strange Clouds.”
Ultimately, Tyson made it clear that B.o.B’s musical prowess did not pardon his belief in flat Earth theory. In a particularly sharp line, Tyson took aim at the rapper’s intelligence. “I think it’s very clear that Bobby didn’t read enough. And he’s believing all this conspiracy stuff.”