Rapper’s Delight: A Strong Vocabulary

rappers vocabularyclick here for hi-res version

Matthew Daniels has created a pretty nifty flow chart with Pop Chart Lab ranking the size of the vocabulary of today’s leading hip-hop artists. 

Daniel explains the project:

Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever.

I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.

35,000 words covers 3-5 studio albums and EPs. I included mixtapes if the artist was just short of the 35,000 words. Quite a few rappers don’t have enough official material to be included (e.g., Biggie). As a benchmark, I included data points for Shakespeare and Herman Melville, using the same approach (35,000 words across several plays for Shakespeare, first 35,000 of Moby Dick).

rapper vocabulary detail

and of course the first name of the artist who runs away the field is Aesop.

rapper vocabulary poster

The Rapper’s Delight part of the post title comes from 1979 hit of the same name by the Sugarhill Gang; it is considered the world’s first popular hip-hop song.

Posters available through Pop Chart Lab

Full blog post by Daniels

A Dave Eggers menagerie to help send kids to college


Before the ascent of his writing career, and his publishing career as the founder of the one and only McSweeney’s, Dave Eggers pursued the life of an artist.

Eggers returns to the realm of art with an exhibit of drawings to benefit ScholarMatch, an a amazing new program  that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition.

The 40 posters, in the vernacular of political propaganda posters, will be on display from Electric Works at ArtMRKT which takes place in San Francisco, May 15-18.









Here is a look at all of the posters, including an archive of the sold pieces.

In the Stacks: World War I propaganda posters at the Harry Ransom Center


ww1 feed the gunsWar bonds. Feed the guns! Thomas, Bert, 1915

It was supposed to be the “the war to end war” but unfortunately it wasn’t. And in addition to the horror of the battlefield (ten million men killed) WWI also featured a battle of propaganda.

Thanks to its newly digitized collection of over 100 propaganda posters from WWI the Ransom Center gives us a front row seat to the battle to win the hearts and minds of the American people and its allies as well as the enemy attempts to do the same.

ww1 keep offKeep these off the U.S.A. Buy more liberty bonds. John Norton, ca. 1917

The lithographs in English, French, German, and Russian illustrate a wide spectrum of sentiments from military boosterism to appeals for public austerity.  The posters document geo-political causes as well as social and economic transformations set in motion by the war.  The role of women, new technologies, international aid, wartime economy, and food supply all feature prominently in the First World War Collection.


ww1 garden armyFollow the Pied Piper. Join the United States school garden army. Maginel Wright Barney, ca. 1919
WWI poster all you need is a heartJoin. All you need is a heart and a dollar ca 1915-1917
ww1 ywcaFor every fighter a woman worker… Y.W.C.A. Back our second line of defense. Ernest Hamlin Baker, 1918
ww1 liberty speakingHello! This is Liberty speaking. Z. P. Nikolaki, 1918
ww1 knights columbusHelping your boy through no man’s land…Knights of Columbus war camp activities fund ca. 1917

View the collection

Previously on In The Stacks:

Rockwell Kent at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art
William Burroughs Through the Lens of Allen Ginsberg 
Leslie Jones at the Boston Public Library
The Getty Museum opens up
The Tokyo Sightseeing Photo Club
First Visit to The New Digital Library of America
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Playing Cards at the Beinecke
National Library of Ireland
The Astor Free Library at the NYPL
Women’s Travel Diaries at Duke University
Charles Darwin’s Library
The National Archives
Columbia  University, From Homer to Howl
Private Libraries at the Museum of the City of New York
Los Angeles Public Library
Boston Public Library