Welcome to RapMETRICS.

Welcome to RapMETRICS.  A site dedicated to analyzing the rap game on paper.

What RapMETRICS is  is the birth of statistical analysis in hip-hop. Using simple algorithms to gather raw data from lyrics, RapMETRICS attempts to give each song it’s own equivalent of a sports box score. Using these gathered numbers, we can now make inferences on what they tell us. Do they confirm conventional wisdom? Will certain myths be busted with the backing of statistics? In this blog, we will attempt to add a quantitative element to the discourse of rap lyrics that’s been missing for years.

Accepting the fact that numbers can tell us something about music may be a tough sell to most.  However, I argue that there are instances where looking at the numbers in context could tell us the story we’re looking for.  Take Canibus for example; a well-respected emcee who’s had a tough time getting mass acclaim because of his academic subject matter (I’ve heard him described as “too sciency”).  While “too sciency” isn’t necessarily a tangible claim, we can ask a simple question to see if Canibus does in fact use more technical phrases: Does Canibus average more syllables per word than his peers?

It turns out that Canibus Does average more syllables per word than your average rapper, 1.42 syllables/word in his fourth album Mic Club vs. 1.2-1.3 syllables/word amongst most of his peers.  In one simple value we’ve brought a certain closure to an otherwise hard-to-define claim.  Using only 1 number!!!

In This blog, we’ll continually attempt to answer questions like this to the best of our abilities.  Enjoy!

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7 thoughts on “Welcome to RapMETRICS.

  1. Chris Papadopoulos says:

    I’ve been a little busy lately with work, but have finally checked out your blog. This has a lot of potential. I’m only familiar with about half of thr rappers you’ve covered but the articles are still entertaining.

    I’ll try and message you later on about something cool I thought you could try.

    Keep at it. 🙂

  2. EC says:

    Interesting site! Could you please analyze Big Pun, the best rapper of all time?

    “Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know we riddled middlemen who didn’t do diddly”

  3. Beth Hart says:

    “Accepting the fact that numbers can tell us something about music may be a tough sell to most” … “While “too sciency” isn’t necessarily a tangible claim”

    It’s a tough sell because Rap has become a very complex Craft. Gone are the day’s when any 8th grader do it, and be considered good. There are too many non-tangable elements to the Art that likely can’t be measured but which HAVE to be taken into account when separating the men from the boys..

    Example in my scoring book a Rapper can be a good lyricist, and spit multi’s like mad. But If you can’t understand him when he spits those lyrics he goes to the bottom of the list. Cuz enuciation is a Key tecnique. The story loses it emotional impact and message if people can’t understand it, and no one wants to have to go look up lyrics to understand what a rapper is saying in a song.

    Another one, EC brings up Big Pun. A good lyricist but Big pun’s got issues, two of which is subject matter is limited, and his delivery SUCKS bad. By the time he gets to the middle of the second verse in almost everything he spits, people are half asleep, and don’t care what he has to say. If he doesn’t feel them, neither do they, and If you can’t spit your lyrics like you mean them, what’s the point of spittin them, in first place?.. So Pun goes to the bottom of the list..

    Canibus – “Too Scieny” = Doesn’t connect with his audience, nobody cares about what he’s talking about, and limited subject range. Skills required by a great MC.

    How many of these techniques do you think you can measure?

    Delivery (feelin your shyt), broad range of flows, complex rhythms, maintaining clear enunciation, use of melody, use of syncopation, ability to address a broad range of subject matter, complex rhyme schemes, use of multi-syllabic rhymes, fitting many rhymes in each bar, use of a broad range of wordplay (including metaphors, puns, similes, spoonerisms, metathesis and Rhetorical metathesis (ability to bend words and restructure sentences so that they rhyme and flow eloquently) blending & obscuring word meanings, clever rhetorical excursions, crafting coherent yet oddly formed sentences) phrasing, story telling techniques, Connecting with the listener..

    Just curious…

  4. rapmetrics says:

    RapMETRICS as a system only works when you have a working understanding of the artist and are able to contextualize the numbers. So, you take claims/ideas about an artist and see if you can find any values to support your thoughts. Canibus’ word choice IS something that stops him from being an easy listen and it CAN be modeled statistically for example.

    It’s there to supplement the music experience, not replace it.

  5. cdubshiphop says:

    Can you give us a post explaining all the metrics? Thanks.

  6. Alex Kolody says:

    Could you analyze Immortal Technique or Jedi Minds Tricks? Both of them have the message. Want to verify that the lyrical quality is there.

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