consensus canvas

A Meeting with Consensus

June 14, 2022

On April 5th 2022, a listening party and album (Original ConScience) unveil was hosted by rapper Consensus, at the Canvas Café in Brick Lane, London.  Consensus is an extremely talented lyricist whose MO is to intertwine aspects of Physics and Maths with social commentary.


Consensus studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Bristol and went on to pursue a flourishing rap career. His 2017 album ConCERNed was a concept album that bridged the gap between rap music and particle physics.  Much of the inspiration was taken from his direct experience and collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.  Engaging with an audience using typically abstract concepts such as relativity and relating them using social commentary is pretty rare and introduces a refreshing perspective in an arguably stagnant rap scene.  In a particular track called “Dark Matter”, had a particular verse hooked me:

“What should I make of life, when only 5% of what I am is clear to the naked eye”


He is referring to the fact that only 5% of all the matter in the universe is visible, the rest of the 95% is invisible and is called Dark Matter.  The relatability of this is the fact that most of what constitutes us as individuals (our innermost desires, thoughts, belief systems, feelings and experiences) is hidden to everyone else.  Despite our ability to communicate by talking and sharing, a lot of social discourse is often mired with conflict because we cannot directly view and understand someone on the inside without devoting a large amount of time to doing so.


Another verse on this same track is:


“15% of everything you think matters..”


A clever play on words whilst mediating the fact that only 15% of the matter in the universe is “normal” hadronic matter. When you consider that the mass of “stuff” that we see (directly or indirectly) should account for the gravitational effects that we observe,  85% of all the matter that causes these gravitational effects is missing:


So, what happens to 85% of our thoughts, where do they come from and what’s the result of us thinking them?


If the original question was: “can particle physics [and other scientific concepts] be described using rap music?”, I’m inclined to think “yes”.  This leads us to present day Consensus who embarked on another project to mediate scientific concepts to middle school and college students as an alternative to standard curricular delivery.

Original ConScience

The album’s main goal is to target key topic aspects of the GCSE and A-level curriculum and follows from 2 years of research guided by some of the world’s top physicists.  It is the expectation that the contents of the album would be used as legitimate learning material, helping to shape and evolve the education system by way of providing alternative and more targeted methods of engagement between students and their subject matter.  As a published physicist myself who actively tutors and lectures the subject, this is a welcome and needed breath of fresh air in a long stale environment where students are easily able to find passion in other STEM subjects such as Maths, Chemistry and Biology, but the same is found wanting when it comes to Physics.

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The album uses a mixture of grime, drill, hip hop and jazz to deliver its themes – a lot of which are backed by research from physicists at CERN, NASA, LIGO, Fermilab and others.  The album represents a musical journey of the current physics being researched whilst also linking them to real and relatable social issues.  The listening party featured Consensus as the Host and myself and Helen Cawley as speakers.

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In my own session, I spoke about the origins of my career as a physicist and I used my favourite principle (Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: \( \Delta x \cdot \Delta p = \frac{h}{4\pi} \) ) to deliver part of my message.  I related my experiences growing up in inner city London and becoming interested in the sciences through various opportunities that very soon coalesced to create something (who I am today) out of nothing (whatever statistic I was back then).  Helen Cawley Artist and former Artist in Residence at CERN then spoke about the work she does (such as creating beautiful and thought-provoking images of various experiments) and her experiences within the Art industry.

The main man himself, Consensus, then treated us all to a live rendition of several of his songs off of the upcoming Origin Project album.  The experience can be summed up as  “beautiful poetry”.

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The album is unreleased but soon to officially stimulate our senses.  Until then, we have more than enough artistry to keep us going:


Dr. Adetokunbo Ayilaran

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