Two guys have set out to discover what the “most hip-hop” word of 2017 is. As you do.
Inspired, by a similar study from last year surveying heavy metal lyrics, the duo used machine learning and complex algorithms to analyse the songs of pretty much every major rapper from 2017 and beyond.
What word defines hip-hop in 2017? Two guys have set out to find the answer using machine learning and complex algorithms.
The study dissected and analysed lyrics from the top 500 charting artists on Billboard’s Rap Chart (about 50,000 songs), mapping out some 26 million words. Their findings were presented in an insanely comprehensive interactive map, grouping artists by their lyrical similarity.
They compared the relative frequencies of popular words, finding that “chopper” “stunting,” “flexing,” and “mane” were among the most likely lyrics to be used in a hip-hop song, compared to other genres. Other popular words were “dope” , “shooter”, “homie” and “swag” (only at number 15 though – what’s the deal?).
As they note, “many of these words are slang, words that may not have existed pre-hip-hop (or arguably they exist because hip hop).”
The study also looked into what words were central to different rapper’s vocabularies. For example, N.W.A lyrical index revolves around words like “police” and “Compton”, while Action Bronson’s leans heavily on words like “Queens” and “hooker”.
There are heaps of cool interactive maps and graphs on the site, as well as some insightful musings on the language of rap and the words that define the genre and its artists. Check it out here.