Finally, music and mathematics have combined like everyone’s always saying they should. Genius’ spin-off graphing function ‘Rap Stats‘ maps the popularity of words and phrases in rap lyrics over the last 25 years.
What initially seems like an easy way to blow four hours when you should be getting something done, actually becomes a something of a topical marker, corresponding with musical, not to mention cultural patterns over the past quarter of a century.
Unsurprisingly enough, use of the word ‘OJ’ spiked in 1994 and ’95, while ‘molly’ has been on a steady rise since 2010. Strangely, use of ‘Illuminati’ surged in 1995 as well as 2010. The words ‘heartbreak’ and ‘lonely’ spiked in 2009, probably thanks to Kanye, and maintained their popularity well into 2014, because Drake. ‘Pretty’ has also enjoyed a wide level of usage since 2010, while ‘thug; has been on shocking decline in the 21st century, accounting for only 0.00797% of lyrics in 2014 (potentially all accounted for by Young Thug saying his own name).
This might all seem like fun and games but proceed with caution, we all start off wanting to chart the relation of ‘gin’ to ‘juice,’ but within 15 minutes you’ll be the guy writing your thesis on ‘cultural trends in urban music,’ which everyone can agree is not ideal.
This infographic illustrates Kanye West’s history of fashion influence
A statistical analysis of hip-hop’s grandest vocabularie