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New Study Examines the Largest Vocabulary in Hip-Hop Based on Rap Lyrics

Posted by Billyjam, May 5, 2014 03:52pm | Post a Comment

NYC based designer, coder, and data scientist at Undercurrent Matt Daniels has just unveiled his latest project, an in-depth examination of the vocabulary of hip-hop emcees which, for any fan of the genre or of the English language, is well worth checking out. The results, just published on Amazon News under the heading The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop, are the results of Daniels' quest to study and compare some of hip-hop's most prolific artists and determine their use of words in raps while comparing them with William Shakespeare’s vocabulary "across his entire corpus" noting how "he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever." He also uses as a comparison test the first 35,000 words of Herman Melville's book Moby Dick, and states that he decided to compare "this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop" and that for this study that he "used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake." As a data source he utilized Rap Genius (website that comprises most rap song lyrics) that, even though the study is just published now in May 2014, are only current to 2012. Among the artists included in his study are E-40, Too $hort, LL Cool J, Rakim, Beastie Boys, and standout study subject Aesop Rock who ranks as user of the most unique words in his rhymes clocking in at a total of 7392 unique words as compared to say Snoop Dogg (3974 unique words), or Blackalicious (5480 unique words used). He also goes into a deeper look at Wu-Tang (see above excerpt) for a look at each members "total words" (as distinct from "unique words"). For further in-depth results of this study click here.