Monday, February 28, 2011

The Language of Hip-Hop: A Rap Almanac

What can we learn from the jargon of Jay-Z? Or Lil' Wayne's lexicon? Wired recently posted an article about a man named Tahir Hemphill who is undergoing the task of looking back into 30 years of Hip-Hop and taking it apart - one word at a time.

Hemphill calls it the Hip-Hop Word Count and it "analyzes the lyrics of over 40,000 songs for metaphors, similes, cultural references, phrases, memes and socio-political ideas. For each, it registers a date and a geographical location." This sort of information can provide interesting data as to which region has the most clever artists and where phrases have originated (who said shawty first???!! The world needs to know!). In addition to date and locale of songs, it breaks down syllable count, word count, average letters per word and more - for each of the 40,000 tracks.

Check out the prototype he has done with 243 Jay-Z songs and donate to the cause on Kickstarter.

1 comment:

Speedhouse said...

Great post. How wierd that I was looking for a rap/hip-hop dictionary this weekend...