Absurd comparison? Maybe. Why though? What is so impressive about J. Cole that he’s won the adoration of the internet while fans have come together almost unanimously in their distaste for Waka? Waka is criticized, fairly, for his simplistic approach to rap. The beef doesn’t have much merit if it’s with his specific word choice (1.23 syllables per word and 0.95 NWP on Gun sounds vs. 1.19 syllables per word and 0.88 NWP on Lights Please). I mean, Waka is using larger words on average AND being more flexible with his words (negligible difference in rhyme density). And while simplistic, there’s still an element of fun creativity to Waka’s raps:Murdaman flocka, I keep a heavy chopper
I’m down with So Icey I’m a real top shotter
Lite skin rasta, move like the mobsters
Rob yo ass for ganja so give it up partner
I hang with the killers, we go ape like gorillas
NWP, which measures repeated words between lines to give a rough estimator on word dexterity is 0.98 across these bars (the only repeated word being “a” between line 1 and 2). What it really comes down to is Hook%, a metric I introduced in the last post. Here are the numbers for Gun Sounds and Lights Please.
Waka: 43 bars total, 17 rapping = 60% of the song is the hook
J.Cole: 69 bars total, 53 bars rapping = 23% of the song is the hook
J. Cole has more total content and less percentage of hook. That’s the biggest difference between the two statistically that I’ve found. And to be honest, I’d rather listen to Waka’s hard hooks over a beat with adlibs than J. Cole rap. That’s just me though.