Arguably the most popular and polarizing rap artist of this era Lil Wayne is usually the subject of much debate among hip hop fans. His legitimacy as an artist has been in question for years, even being accused as being responsible for of the dilution of hip hop as an artform. The most vocal of fans will claim that his music cannot be considered ‘Real’ hip hop. These fans begin by listing some of the artists they consider to be opposite Wayne and who represent the art in a purer form. Two names that pop up on a lot of these lists are Joe Budden and Immortal Technique, two artists we’re not very impressed by here at RapMETRICS.
We can do some interesting grouping with this now.
- Joe Budden and Lil Wayne are both a tier above Immortal Tech in terms of rhyming.
- Joe Budden and Immortal Technique have much more content in each song (total syllables).
- Immortal Technique uses the longest words whereas Budden/Wayne are almost identical.
- Lil Wayne has the lowest Novelty Word proportion (the average amount of new words per line) whereas Immortal Tech has the highest.
We can now start to classify each of the three artists:
- Joe Budden: Good rhymer, medium word dexterity, medium syl/word, high total syllable count.
- Lil Wayne: Good rhymer, low word dexterity, medium syl/word, medium total syllable count.
- Immortal Technique: Poor rhymer, high word dexterity, high syl/word, high total syllable count.
Looking just at the classifications, it doesn’t really make sense as to why Tech and Budden are considered more legitimate than Wayne. Lil Wayne is the better rhymer, technically, than both and he is on par with Budden in terms of average syllable count per word. What seperates Wayne from the other two? The total amount of syllables per song, which is a measure of total content. What is happening it seems is that fans are confusing volume with ability. It’s not much different than low efficiancy volume scorers in basketball receiving praise for their ability to put points up even if it’s at the expense of their team’s overall offensive efficinecy (in this case, making good music).