Friday, October 06, 2017

The Lyrical Map of Hip Hop


The Pudding has analyzed the lyrics of about 50,000 songs in order to discover the most common words used in Hip Hop. From this analysis they were then able to make an interactive map which groups Hip Hop artists by lyrical similarity.

The Words That are Most Hip Hop interactive map organizes the faces of Hip Hop artists based on the overlap between the words they use in their lyrics. You can hover over the faces on the map to reveal the name of each artist. The map reveals distinct etymological families in Hip Hop. For example there is the Wu-Tang branch of the language of Hip Hop whose members share a very similar lexicon.

The different dialects of Hip Hop that emerge on the map may owe a lot to the physical geography of the Hip Hop artists. Further study is needed to see if the lyrical similarity between artists correlates to geographical closeness.


To prove a link between Hip Hop dialects and geography you might want to explore the Geography of Hip-Hop interactive map. The Geography of Hip-Hop documents the history and geography of Hip Hop. The map (and accompanying essay) explore how Hip Hop has spread around the world and how different cites have developed their own distinct sounds and styles of Hip Hop.

The interactive Hip Hop map allows you to browse and listen to Hip Hop music by location. The map features 955 songs, most of which you can listen to directly from the map. The size of the markers on the map reflects the number of artists featured from that location. In this way you can get a rough idea about the size of the Hip Hop communities in these different urban locations.

By listening to the songs listed in one city you may begin to get a feel for the sound and style of Hip Hop from that location. You can learn more about the development of Hip Hop in the accompanying essay, The Syncopated Geography of Hip-Hop. The essay explores the influence of geography on Hip Hop communities & styles and how Hip Hop music reflects the influence of the different urban locales where it is made.
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