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05 SEPTEMBER 2014

The Largest Vocabulary in Hip hop

"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, Kendrick Lamar). 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).

I used a research methodology called token analysis to determine each artist's vocabulary. Each word is counted once, so pimps, pimp, pimping, and pimpin are four unique words. To avoid issues with apostrophes (e.g., pimpin' vs. pimpin), they're removed from the dataset. It still isn't perfect. Hip hop is full of slang that is hard to transcribe (e.g., shorty vs. shawty), compound words (e.g., king shit), featured vocalists, and repetitive choruses.

It's still directionally interesting. Of the 85 artists in the dataset, let's take a look at who is on top."

(Matt Daniels, May 2014)

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TAGS

benchmark • big vocabulary • choice of words • corpus • cultural expressiondatasetdictiondigital humanitiesEnglish languageexpressive repertoireexpressive vocabulary • extensive vocabulary • Herman Melville • hip-hop • lexicomane • lyrics • Matt Daniels • Moby Dick • musicnaming • pimp • raprapperresearch method • sesquipedalian • slang • speaking vocabulary • token analysis • use of wordsvocabularyWilliam Shakespeareword heapwords

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 APRIL 2005

Parole: dictionary of the contemporary city

"parole is a dynamic dictionary of the contemporary city, or at least this was the intention when it was launched in June 2000 in occasion of the 7th International Exhibition of Architecture at the Biennale in Venice, Italy.

Since then parole has become a vast, loose, heterogeneous website, probably less easily defined with such a stringent term as 'dictionary'.

Currently about 900 words, related to the transformation of the urban landscape, are organised in a hypermedia database, along with more than 1000 links to & from the Internet.

Images, texts, quotations, comments, fragments of text, links to external websites, videos, sounds, webcams are some of the scattered elements which constitute its fragmented mosaic.

parole acts as an open platform for information, discussion, archive, gathering of data, it is a place where much of the material included is directly provided by its users. As in a type of 'Borgesian' dream it establishes a permanently fluid and unstable mapping of the actual urban condition throughout the world, looking at the variations and alterations in language and in the discourse of several different disciplines. Neologisms, slang terms, theories, utopic projects, nicknames attributed to specific sites, urbanism, architecture, anthropology, contemporary art are some of the multiple material included in parole.

As its nature is permanently unstable and deprived of any hierarchy, parole is subject to shifts and alterations towards directions which are actually unpredictable.

In occasion of its different presentations within localised conditions, such as a museum or a gallery space, we have tried to accomplish a certain degree of interaction with the context, in order to allow the project to present a direct vision of the condition of the contemporary city in its permanent state of change."

(Gruppo A12, Udo Noll and Peter Scupelli)

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TAGS

2000anthropologyarchitecture • architecture biennale • categorisationcityclassificationdictionaryhypertextItalyJorge Luis Borgeslangue and paroleneologism • nicknames • orderingparoleslangtaxonomythesaurusurbanismutopia • Venice
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