Rapper’s Delight: A Strong Vocabulary
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).
and of course the first name of the artist who runs away the field is Aesop.
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