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The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop

Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever (average people have a vocab of 5,000 words). I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I 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.

posted by cthuljew on May 3, 2014 - 79 comments

"I'm on my feet like Tough Actin'® Tinactin®."

How many rappers have name-checked Tough Actin' Tinactin brand anti-fungal skin products? More than you would think.
posted by not_on_display on Apr 17, 2014 - 25 comments

Rap Idiot

Rap Genius is a lyrics site that allows its users to annotate lyrics with additional data and criticism. The site has become a touchstone in the hip-hop community: various prominent rappers have signed up for accounts to explain their own lyrics, it's been profiled and discussed in the NYT, and has raised $15 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz. The founders have talked about expanding the site's annotations to other topics. Then came last Sunday, and the SEO. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on Dec 31, 2013 - 99 comments

A rap eulogy in 32 bars (give or take 5%)

"On November 22, 1997, there was a party at 635 Logan Street, Steubenville, Ohio. Hubbard attended this party. At the party were several members of the gang known as the Crips. It is contested whether Hubbard is a member of the Crips. During that evening, Wise God Allah, a.k.a. Grier Montgomery, was walking down the street outside of the party. Wise God Allah was known to be a member of the rival gang the Bloods. Hubbard and up to nine other men began shooting at Wise God Allah. One of the shots hit Wise God Allah. The gunshot wound was fatal."*
"On one record I did called 'Wise' that didn't make the album the Supreme Clientele—I couldn't use it, they took it off**—I cried writing it. I wrote it on the beach. And I cried. And it started raining when I was crying. It was in Miami. I cried writing it, and then when I went to go record it, it had some tears coming to my eyes too, recording it, because I had to zone out, I couldn't really do it in front of everybody. I don't like to record in front of a lot of people especially when I'm writing emotional stuff." - Ghostface Killah [audio interview] [more inside]
posted by jng on Apr 30, 2011 - 12 comments

Who knew Mike D knew so many dance moves.

Beastie Boys Annotated [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 16, 2010 - 44 comments

Well, he was smilin’ like a vulture as he rolled up the horticulture

Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’

What a surprise to read that couplet on "The New Yorker's" website, in an article about Jay-Z's new book. It also discusses Adam Bradley's "Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop," an academic study that respects rap lyrics as serious poetry. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Dec 4, 2010 - 82 comments

Homeboy got a mind that a map couldn't find

The Rap Map is a mashup of notable places and geographical lyrics in rap and hip-hop. It's brought to you by Rap Genius, a site that explains rap lyrics like "I'm getting jacked, I'm breaking myself" (Warren is getting “jacked” (robbed) and “breaking himself” (generally befuddled)) and "One day you're cruising in your 7, next day you're sweating, forgetting your lies" (Street life can be tough — one day you’re riding high in your BMW 7 Series luxury car, the next day you’re arrested and cracking under pressure. The rest of this verse is a classic warning that the hustling lifestyle is not for everybody)
posted by desjardins on Aug 21, 2010 - 43 comments

Filed under: he said what now?

Snacks and Shit - The premise is simple: A single hip-hop lyric, taken out of context, with bonus commentary.
posted by toxic on Feb 24, 2009 - 110 comments

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