Illustration Showcases Hip Hop Artists’ Wordsmith Skills

Illustration Showcases Hip Hop Artists’ Wordsmith Skills

Data analyst digs into Rappers' vocabs to produce colorful pictorial

Marnie Kunz
  • 3 september 2014

When it comes to vocabulary, Shakespeare’s got nothin’ on some rappers, according to The Hip Hop Flow Chart, a pictorial showcasing hip hop artists’ wide ranging use of different words. The chart, adapted from designer, coder and data analyst Matt Daniels‘ data in the “Largest Vocabulary in Hip-Hop,” features 100 had-drawn portraits of rappers. Each rapper has a number based on the amount of unique words used in his or her first 35,000 lyrics (roughly equal to 3-5 albums).

In the colorful study of language and hip hop, rappers are also color coded based on the region they’re from, with the East Coast (blue) and Southern (yellow) rappers dominating the color scheme. According to Daniels’ data, the Southern rappers have the lowest average word variety (4,268). The East Coast rappers score the highest, with an average of 4,804. There are exceptions to the regional rule, however. Although only 4 of the 17 Southern-based artists in the dataset are above average, for instance, hip-hop cult favorite Outkast ranks in the top 20, with an impressive 5,212-word score.


As a benchmark, Shakespeare would come in just below Outkast, according to Daniels’ findings, with a score of 5,170. So who comes in at the top, reigning as king of hip hop wordsmiths? Rapper Aesop Rock ranks as number one by far, with a whopping 7,392 unique words in his first 35,000 lyrics. He beats out Shakespeare and Moby Dick, not to mention Wu Tang-Clan (who still ranks in the top 10, with an impressive 5,895) and currently popular rappers like Jay-Z and Kanye West. In fact, big-time rappers Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and Tupac didn’t rank as high as hip hop fans might expect in the wordsmith department, coming in below average on the Hip Hop Flow Chart.

For the study, not all hip hop artists were included, as quite a few rappers don’t have enough official material to be included (such as Biggie and Kendrick Lamar).

The Hip Hop Flow Chart is available at Pop Chart Lab for $29. Each 24″ x 18″print is signed and numbered by the illustration artists from a first printing of 500. The posters are made of 100 lb. archival stock certified by The Forest Stewardship Council and pressed on an offset lithographic press with vegetable-based inks in Long Island City, Queens.


[h/t]: Pop Chart Lab, Matt Daniels, Undercurrent


DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Today

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Today

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Innovation Debrief: Boston

See All
Mobile Today

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Kevin Fliess

Online Travel Services

Syndicated Today

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Today

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Today

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 28, 2016

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Today

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Today

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Today

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Today

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Mobile Today

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Today

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Today

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.