Music

The largest vocabularies in hip hop

It's not very often that we find ourselves pouring over a report by a coder and data scientist. But then, not many coders and data scientists are as inspired as Matt Daniels.

If you haven't read the New York-based designer's work on the the Etymology of "Shorty" and Outkast in graphs and charts, we implore you to do so - but only after you've discovered more about his work on the largest vocabularies in hip hop.

After taking note of the praise heaped upon Shakespeare for his staggering lexicon, (he uses 28,829 words in his works, suggesting he had one of the largest vocabularies of all time) Daniels was intrigued to see how vocabularies of the hip hop community would stack up against the Bard.

Analysing the first 35,000 lyrics of 85 artists (35,000 to ensure that long-standing artists such as Jay Z can be compared to new comers such as Drake), he used a research methodology known as token analysis to determine the number of unique words to feature in each artist’s vocabulary. The results are as follows (click to enlarge):

Way out in front is Aesop Rock, whose first 35,000 lyrics (roughly 3-5 studio albums) features a staggering 7,392 unique words - 966 words more than the next closest artist, the solo works of GZA.

Along with the stand-out variety of Aesop, Daniels also noted the depth offered by the Wu-Tang Clan - whose collective works came in seventh, while the solo works of GZA, Ghostface, Raekwon, and Method Man all feature in the top 20.

Be sure to head over to Daniels' study to give the data a rigorous read. We're going in search of a thesaurus to bring ourselves up to east coast rap standards.

(Images: Matt Daniels)

(Via: High Snobiety)