The Hip-Hop Word Count is a searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 50,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day. The Hip-Hop Word Count creates an ethnographic database built from 30 years of Hip-Hop content.The database is the heart of an online analysis tool that generates textual and quantified reports on searched phrases, syntax, memes and socio-political ideas.
Hip-Hop Word Count Analyzes the Story Behind The Music – Black Web 2.0:
“What we have here is a database that describes the technical details of most of your favorite hip-hop songs. This data can then be used to not only figure out interesting things about the songs themselves, but to describe the culture behind the music. How can analyzing lyrics teach us about our culture? The analysis tool is able to discern the education level needed to understand each song. In addition, it rates the artistic sophistication of the piece by looking at how metaphors, similes, cultural references, alliteration, and other techniques are used.
To get a better understanding of how this works, let’s compare “Microphone Fiend” by Rakim to “I Get Money” by 50 Cent. According to Hip-Hop Word Count analysis, Rakim gets a score of 16 while 50 comes away with a 7. Rakim, using words like “hypochondriac,” is on a University Degree education level, and a reading level of “Atlantic Monthly.” 50’s money word is “millionaire,” is at a Junior High education level, and a reading level of “True Confessions.”
Hip-Hop Word Count has been on the hush for a while now and is currently in private beta. It looks like it will appeal to extremely technical types as well as people just looking for interesting hip-hop comparisons. The searches in HHWC database are done using Apache’s Lucene, which allows for some pretty advanced queries. It is the brain child of Tahir Hemphill, who currently operates the creative enterprise Staple Crops. Also, if you love hip-hop, spreadsheets, and dealing with data, Tahir is looking for an intern to help with the project.”