Some Nerds Used Algorithms to Find Out Which Word Is the "Most Hip-Hop"

They also discovered that "racism" is one of the words that is most central to Kanye West's work, whatever that means.

Oct 5 2017, 8:20pm

Imagen vía Flickr

Rap and nerds. Nerds and rap. The two are complementary to each other, as evidenced by Genius, anime artwork, and Jedi Mind Tricks. Though many of that world's most famous lines and songs have been analyzed to death, it seems that no one had thought to go even deeper and deconstruct the entire medium to its molecular structure. That may not sound like fun to most (and truly, it might destroy the fun of listening to rap in the first place), but some folks just have the time, patience, and mastery of both stats software and web design.

Inspired by a similar study of heavy metal lyrics (the most metal word turned out to be "burn," if you're curious), two individuals (one who goes simply by the name "The DataFace") have mapped out the vocabularies of seemingly every major rapper and used that data to create an incredibly comprehensive map of ad-libs, punchlines, and subject matter. They compared the relative frequencies of words used and determined that "chopper" was apparently the most likely to be used in a hip-hop song, compared to other genres. This was followed by "stunting," "flexing," and "mane." The full list of "most rap" words does end up looking like a 55-year-old white parent attempting to imitate a rap song, however, the findings are intriguing, if only to show that "swag" has not fallen out of fashion (it's at number 15) as some may have assumed.

Also interesting is that the site uses words unique to or used plentifully by an artist to determine words that are "central" to certain rappers. This can end up being a low-key ether by exposing common or overused themes in their writing. For example, GZA's resembles a "create your own Wu-Tang title" bot featuring "swords," "wildest," and "fractions." Kanye's goes from "embarrass" to "ideas" to "racism" to "celebrity," which basically sums up his career if we're being honest. There are many other complex charts and graphs contained within, and you could likely spend an entire afternoon figuring out if Jadakiss' laughs overpower his use of his own name or what have you. You can find the entire "Vocabulary of Rap" study here.

Phil is on Twitter.