Tahir Hemphill is building a database of rap lyrics layered with metadata and location. The Hip-Hop Word Count, he calls it.
From his Kickstarter proposal:
“The idea to build the Hip-Hop Word Count came out of having hundreds of heated and passionate discussions about rap music: Who was the best rapper of all time? Which rapper had the smartest songs? Which was the most popular champagne in hip-hop during 1999-2003? Which rapper uses the most clever metaphors? Which city’s rap songs use the most monosyllabic words? Does living in higher altitudes create a natural proclivity for gangster rap?”
Mr. Hemphill also noticed that rap’s vocabulary seemed to be getting simpler over time. “I thought it might be that modern hip hop is making me stupid,” he said at last night’s Ignite NYC in DUMBO. “How can I prove this?”
With data, of course. The Hip Hop Word Count proof of concept already has the lyrics to 40,000 songs and Mr. Hemphill is seeking donations to pay the programmers who built it and add functionality.
The project has been fully funded by more than 100 backers on Kickstarter with three days to go.
But more money is very welcome, Mr. Hemphill said, and will accelerate the time to launch.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries