Category Archives: Uncategorized

A (sloppy) script to find ‘narrative’ rap songs

One of the most important rap songs that I’ve heard is this song by Eyedea.  It’s about a dude that is a painter.  He keeps having a dream about his body on the ground, seeing it from a bird’s-eye point of view.  There is a loud noise that he can’t quite make out in this dream.  This dream keeps bothering the dude and he starts to become less fun to be around.  One day, when he’s at the art gallery he frequents (for inspiration/ideas) he sees a painting.  In this painting,  a person is on the ground, on a runway, with an airplane beside the body.  The airplane propellor is spinning and this noise matches up with the noise from his dreams.  He starts to go crazy because this painting is describing his dream. He is the creator and the subject of the art at the same time.  He starts to think that maybe his whole existance is nothing more than a character in some ‘cosmic painting’.  And that maybe every character ever created believes he/she is alive.  Of course, this is probably just a psychelically-influenced concept but Eyedea is always cool enough to distance himself from these things by saying “Just a theory, I don’t know what it means.  But that’s the story of the man who trained himself not to dream “.

Anyways, why this particular song and a few others in Eyedea’s catalog are powerful to me is because the characters don’t have names and Eyedea doesn’t tell the story from his POV.  Rather, he is a sort of observer of these things and he uses 2nd person pronouns (the main character referred to simply as he in this story).  Eyedea is a supporting character (something that requires a lot of confidence to do, I think) and the only instances of ‘I’ in this story support the idea of Eyedea being just a secondary, supporting character:

His experience was one I couldn’t comprehend
‘Till I stopped being detective and listened to him as a friend

Anyways, these are some of my favorite stories.  And so I decided to script something to find songs that exhibit these kinds of patterns with respect to distribution of pronouns (more you/he/she/they than i/me/myself).   The idea being, are we able to find narrative-y philosophical song that describe the world by use of 2nd person pronominals?  A few returns after using COMPLEX ALGORITHMS to find songs that are similar to Eyedea’s Color My World Mine.


1. Nas – Black Zombies

Nas talking about societal stuffs through the conspiracy theory “Do you believe?” lense.  Was actually my favorite Nas song at one point I think.


This song apparently is urging people/you to be gr8 and to try hard and not to be petty/bad.  Thinking that there are religious undertones but I’m not sure.

3. Big L – I Don’t Understand It

One of the unintended consequences of this script is that it returns battle rap-ish songs.  In this song Big L (who is unbelievably overrated) says that you/other mc’s suck and he doesn’t understand why other mc’s suck.  Don’t really understand how carving out a career saying, essentially, ‘I am dope on the mic’ could elevate someone to being great but it is cool.  I was looking for straight narrative raps or philosophical things that try to deconstruct society/ppl with this program and it sucks that ‘2nd person sucker’ raps filter through.  But it’s cool.

4. MF Doom – Mordern Day Mugging

Fractured story by the GOAT MF Doom where he talks about mugging people.  Starts with a quick introduction about a smart guy who turns to a life of thieving (and rapping) and most of the pronoun usage in this song seems to come from Doom describing how to rob people and how people react to muggings.

5. Danny! – Stay Away

A manual where Danny! tells us about his home city and tells the listener, YOU, to stay away for a bunch of different reasons.


There are about ~1000 songs in the database that use the YOU technique thing a lot and if you want to listen to those songs please click here.

Troy Ave Through The Numbers

There’s a rapper from New York right now that is getting buzz for being a rapper from NY getting buzz.  His mixtapes are all coke-oriented but he really is just a nice dude that wears nice clothing and drinks nice alcohol and smokes weed.  His rap persona isn’t much more than that.  In the video above, he is talking about moving drugs across state lines which is a rap meme lots of (specifically NY) rappers have used so that their drug kingpin stories could never really be checked out.  Nobody from Connecticut/Maryland/Ohio can verify these stories and so it is a part of the brand/mythology when told in songs.  Or something.

Anyways, Troy Ave is okay.  But, at this moment, it’s very evident that all of his buzz is manufactured by street-wear twitter people and the rap blogs/sites associated with these people.  He is getting lots of views (8 self-shot videos with 20k+ views) but once you look closer, you’ll see that these hits might be the product of courtesy views or views by people that have been told that this is a cool artist that other cool people are checking out.

For example, his latest video, at this moment, has 120,000 views with only 20 comments.   Another video, De Facto, which sells the idea that he is ‘next up’, overtly and subliminaly, has 140,000 views with 33 comments (at this moment).  Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang, another video about nice clothing/alcohol/drugs, has 130,000 views and 43 comments.  This trend is consistent.  Troy Ave is a cool rapper that cool people are listening to and convincing other cool/potentially-cool people that they should also be listening to.  A Ponzi-scheme of coolness, maybe.  Or something.

Anyways, here is a fancy table of the comments:views ratio for Troy Ave vs. some other young, cool-ish rappers:

Danny Brown – 0.299

Joey Bada$$ – 0.207

A$AP ROCKY – 0.184

Action Bronson – 0.188

Troy Ave – 0.0204

And in chart form:

So, yeah.  Good evidence to suggest that Troy Ave is manufactured buzz, at this moment.

Interview with Respect-Magazine

Hip-hop has always been a contentious conversation, an everlasting discussion of GOATs and WOATs, Ws and Ls. Taste is just opinion in practice, to be sure; but underneath all the lip-flapping and one-upping, there’s gotta be more than hot air. In an era where fact checkers can veto the bullshit with a quick Google search, you can’t just speak on how you feel – you have to back it up.

Numbers don’t lie, and Liban Ali Yusuf’s got the data. As a graduate student studying computational linguistics, the 24-year-old Waterloo, Canada native runs the website RapMetrics, a statistical take on hip-hop’s most persistent debates. It turns out that certain lyrical factors are measurable – so does that mean certain criticisms are incontrovertible?  

RESPECT. sat down with hip-hop’s Malcolm Gladwell to find out what linguistics can teach us about rap, and what that says about Drake’s self-obsession.

I said some insightful stuff here and the interviewer Nick Harwood is a super cool dude and was very nice to talk to.  Please read if you 1) Love RapMetrics or 2) Hate RapMetrics or 3) Don’t really have an opinion and don’t care about RapMetrics.

RapMetrics vs. [The Palmer Squares]: A (potential) bi-weekly series of Man vs Machine

The Palmer Squares is a group out of Chicago of two young white guys that rhyme well in cyphers and are distinguishing themselves from the group of Youtube cypher people by being slightly ‘darker’ (without having a horrorcore-y, ugly aesthetic) than the normal lyrical/miracle loser.  These guys rhyme in cool ways, I guess.  They put lots of stressed syllables together and actually forced me to slightly change how I search for word combinations.  It was a good thing because now I have more 4+ syllable, double initial-stress words in the corpus.

Anyways, in an email I got, a person kinda broke down their rhyme patterns:

The general idea being that they are carrying one big rhyme scheme R1:{go Snake Plissken, go Blake Griffin, OJ Simpson, rotate rhythm, whole face crimson, Cocaine sniffin, snow flake glisten} throughout and use some assonance here and there {so don’t hate, James Lipton, ain’t listening} and so on.

It’s kind of a cool rhyme and so I decided to find a shitload of rhymes that go with it.  If you go to you can see the above scheme with the computer generated rhymes.  Here is a screenshot of 10 random rhymes with the scheme (over 6000 in the database for this scheme):

This was a fun little project to do.  If you want me to put RapMetrics vs [Your Fav New Artist] as a post on this blog you can email me at liban.aliyusuf [at] gmail dot com and I will maybe see how the computer does against another interesting verse.  For now here is a partial list of ~250 rhymes that go with the rhyme scheme R1:

go day livin
go day women
go day fixing
go way systems
go gray women
ol’ same visions
own wayne singing
smoke based printing
own day stricken
own my day thinking
whole state missions
cold day women
gold escape killing
gold chains linking
whole dayin in
yo face thickened
no way pimpin
no way pimping
old game systems
yo named dillon
yo named system
coach way pimping
coach away thinking
mo’ strange piercing
won’t stay hittin
snow today women
gon make children
fo space system
yo snake bitten
yo lake dillon
yo face thinking
yo day chicken
dope chain swingin
gon straight trippin
hold name william
know they save millions
spoke came pitching
those days wilson
whole way pimpin
old face victim
blow stay hittin’
blow today women
blow rays glinting
oak lanes linking
slow brain prison
go shape system
know unnamed infant
know named system
own age pimping
own aged villain
clothes days drinking
clothes days killed him
shows paint systems
gon’ stay pimpin
whole plate which in
yo day women
bone day fishing
know snake bitten
know gaze drinking
own paints women
own pain gripping
cold brain vision
cold grain gripping
cold rain thickened
dope estate bringing
hoe faced women
hoe remains chillin
coat detailed billing
whole freight shipment
whole eight hidden
whole blake griffin
whole kapi in
whole make million
yo aged villain
go great kingdom
go say pimpin
gon play kissing
home same living
they eight missions
close save lisbon
code made millions
flow che pimpin’
flow straight trickin
flow tape thickens
flow may fish in
gautreaux case system
hold faced nixon
jerome gave symptoms
joan plane fixed in
joan unnamed infant
ngo named william
o made millions
oh days drinking
slow saleswomen
whole page listened
wo play tricks in
closed main fishing
co weightlifting
co hey livin’
co straight snitchin
co raisin him
co freight shipment
co state switching
co scales thickened
co got eight million
co his great mission
cone strange kingdom
cone scales thickened
cone waste kingdom
cone his nails clicking
cone rate quickened
cone remains sticking
cone shaped thinking
flow takes shipping
folk named winston
know save millions
know stay winning
know stay distant
knows faiths living
knows came pitching
knows eight pilgrims
knows her name written
knows her gaze flicking
oats playbill from
oats delays bringing
composed estate children
home create christian
mon pain killing
clothes straight snitchin
cold remain chillin?
cold stay christian
cold tape thickens
cold chain swingin
cold eight missions
cold freight shipment
cold game chicken
cold weyl theorem
cold chains linking
cold delayed hearing
cold paved kitchen
cold failed children
cold makes shifting
cold days killed him
cold his name written
comb straight trippin
exposed plate brimming
flow all day fishing
flow now champagne spillin
flow like straight trippin
flow weyl theorem
flow contained chicken
flow humane instinct
flow saintship in
flow scales thickened
flow changed since in
hold jane england
hole named william
hopes make instant
known plain buildings
low day fishing
low days ‘ mission
low day stricken
mode gain given
old exclaimed lincoln
own gray women
own day stricken
own days killed him
exposed state prisons
loans made kingston
low gave dickens
nodes jail thinking
ol clay women
old face william
old face thinking
old way systems
own framed building
post jane england
roads straight pimpin
roads straight trippin
show case system
shown weightlifting
shown day fishing
shown straight chillin’
shown main fishing
shown eight hidden
shown strange chilling
shown his great mission
stone states building
thrown face sinking
vote may fish in
home lay blinking
joan late wisdom
joan plate which in
old play clinton
oaks day women
oaks day clearing
rohde change serum
rohde eight fishing
rohde lain hidden
rohde changed here from
yost came sigmund
alone days killed him
both save children
both great dictum
both great written
both create fiction
both re smearing
both failed children
chose eight kingdoms
foes lay near in
fold delayed hearing
go stakes sticking
gross named system
hoped grace william
old remain hidden
old make children
old pale children
rolls make million
show his escapism
show face flinching
show rain thickened
show obtain here in
show haines mission
show same kitchens
show his name written
show brave things in
sole my day thinking
sole this game villian
sole great hidden
sole no great buildings
soul named dillon
soul named winston
strokes make instant
ho changed since in
holds straight pissin’
jo make million
jo make children
loaf delayed shipment
loaf play kissing
loaf play tricks in
low eighth inning
low his escapism
low freighting in
low spaceship from
low delayed hearing

Search 3-syllable Rhymes From Your Favorite Artist

Have you ever wanted to find rhymes from your favorite artists?  If you want to do that visit and search 3-syllable rhymes from your favorite artists simply by entering an artists’ name and pressing the ‘fuck button’.   It is a search engine to browse your favorite artists’ rhymes using SUPER COMPLEX algorithms to fetch lines from rap lyrics.  So, for example, searching “MF DOOM” will give these results:

Aint nobody fucking after her
Im out of here as soon as I fix the flux capacitor

On some junk like Gucci on a classy ho
Might splash you in the face with nuclear pistachio

Tryin to watch Adult Swim Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Rock this cult hymn sock your mean younger boss

Rock this cult hymn sock your mean younger boss
Psht Adult Swim Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Willie knows how the Phillies roll really though
I spend my last dough to pick up the sticky gold

belch Even your pops got smacked
Even your moms got cracked

Villains skeeter gram on the street fifty G
The part of Mr Roper was played by Mr T

Niggaz wanna rob me now
bitches wanna slob me now

bitches wanna slob me now
Hoes didnt holla last year feel sorry now

Yo son demented when them sent it from the other time
Before everybody and they mother rhyme

If thats the case he be a baldheaded African
Takin all the credit and jetted astro travellin

Diagnosed as shell shocked from totin toast
And still could hear the bells rock Doc another loading dose

Fixin baby hair messed up wave your curl
Under the cape the back of the S say baby girl

A rhymin cannibal whos dressed to kill its cynical
Whether is it animal vegetable or mineral

Whether is it animal vegetable or mineral
Its a miracle how he get so lyrical

We hollow krills she swallow pills
He follow flea collar three dollar bills

Let alone the preorders thats counted off shippin sales
This one goes out to all my peoples skippin bail

Jump em in like jump rope double dutch
Then turn on the mic with a thumb stroke subtle touch

Imma slip him son Imma dip him son
When I catch the drop on him Imma clip him son

Who mend and rip space time fabric like polyester blend
Not a hobby for no knobbykneed lesser men

Now classify dont got em shook by exposing the skeletons
Yeah I sorta stick to a more murkyhurt development

Crime pays no dental nor medical
Unless you catching time in county state or federal

Skurts posing as thuggers and hustlers
El get closer then ball huggers and jugglers

Section 8 penthouse maid look like Faye Dunaway
Alotta yall assed out like gay runaways

Its like the same hustle bro two knuckles glow
Tucked in Le Tigre just let the name buckle show

They need to not come out with nothing new
Blew the whole shit up on some What this button do

Who made his first mill and still carry razor blades
Used to be straight As and still made the grade

And revenge I dont need friends and shiesty activities
Move alone through the City that they call Liberty

Physically mentally spiritually not nowadays
Madvillain get more spins than the power plays

Suckas tryin to penny flip
niggaz looping any shit

Spotted at a chick flick holdin hands
The other one on his swollen glands a golden chance

Thats a Secret like Victoria teddy sets thats edible
Thems not ready yet for the incredible

Yall know the dance they smile in ya face yall know the glance
Try ta put em on they blow the chance

Try ta put em on they blow the chance
Never let your socalled mans know ya plans

It dont make no sense what happened to the loyalty
Honor amongst crooks trust amongst royalty

Just so when I let her get the man thing she know its no strings
We could do the damn thing but hoe its no rings

Clang Crime dont pay listen youth
Its like me holding up the line at the kissing booth

Win a contract then turn it down willingly
And start a bidding war thatll collapse the whole industry

Leave ya yellow spots around your bed area
Defecate around your head area

What we have here is a failure to communicate
If you gonna hate might at least get your rumors straight

Call or fax for the freshest rhyme delivery
Or takeout for the fakeyouout ballers in the industry

that know he feelin bent when he see lil pink elephants
And never forget to memorize the elements

And never forget to memorize the elements
Keep the mic sterilized terrorize your eloquence

Remember our vacation out to Maryland
I dooked the maid Carolyn

The rest is empty with no brain but the clever nerd
The best emcee with no chain ya ever heard

Villainy feel him in ya heart chakra chart toppa
Star shit stoppa be a smart shoppa

For fake if he was Anita Bakers man
Hed take her for her masters hit it once an shake her hand

Where my nigga go
Figaro Figaro

But I coul sure use a quick shot of double rum
No stick of bubble gum

They in the dark swingin right to left
Clingin to the little bit of light thats left

And cant escape the room you cant escape the tomb
You all wear a mask sometimes I can relate to Doom

the ho better settle case
the flow is at pedal pace

With the intent to kill the set was krill
To the full extent of skill vent the grill

Looks like its gonna be a great day today
To get some fresh air like a stray on a straightaway

Doom are you pondering what Im pondering
Yes but why would the darn thing be wandering

Yes but why would the darn thing be wandering
Shes like a foundling barely worth fondling

Psycho his flow is drowned in Lowry seasoning
With micropower hes sound and right reasoning

War wound purple heart love veteran
Morphine pain killers drugs and medicine

And many, many more.  I will work to get more rhymes, more songs and better search capabilities.  But enjoy for now!

Rhyming and Spelling and the Letter ‘L’

One of my favorite ‘hooks’ ever is by Nate Dogg on this song and it’s a good way to understand the idea that rhymes ‘lose something’ on paper.

Oh No, niggas ain’t scared to hustle/
It’s been seven days the same clothes/

On paper {hustle} and {clothes}  do not seem like rhymes and I’d bet that most people would not consider them rhymes if they were asked to identify a list of possible rhymes .  Even if they were shown other ‘slant rhymes’ during some sort of ‘conditioning period’.    Because Nate Dogg stretches out the [“-uhl”] sound in {hustle} it ends up sounding like the [“-owe”] vowel sound in the word {clothes}.   It’s a cool technique.

It happens often.  In a corpus of ~50,000 songs, there are ~5,000 unique couplets that use this technique.  Here is a partial list of ~250 couplets.

Artist Song Couplet
The Game Down automatic rifle

and im blastin on sight so

Classified This is For for every hip hop head-black to albino

record executives who still got they spinal

Masterminds Day One [oracle]

ey yo im slippin down a dark hole touchin my soul

Joe Budden The Future (oh…..)


Lil’ Rob Peek a Boo once its gotta be true, but its for real though just like me though

see no, hear no, speak no evil

Xzibit Heart of Man yo its all gon come out in the wash, the lost angel

with dirty wings, bullets ricochet off my halo

Joe f G-Unit Ride Wit U [bridge: joe]

i just wanna let you know, that oooh your so beautiful (your so beautiful)

Canibus M Sea Cresy description of el dorado is not so

see the reason theres no light at the end of tunnel

Esham The D. i aint tryin to get caught with no bundles

cops yellin freeze i hear one say there his gun goes

Looptroop Zombies now youre at home, watching bullshit cable

at your bullshit table, with your remote control

Twista Trouble i, want, my, dough

or its gon be some trouble

Tash f LV Tash Rules i came back and like poof! everybodys lookin boggled

it only took a sec to get rolloed, by chicago

Bubba Sparxxx Heat it Up actin like you scared and unprepared, but you aint though

grab your ankles, yeah thats the angle

Cannibal Ox Pigeon brain sizzle grab the pistol and get hostile

he caught you alone fuse blown

Rev Run The Way i got a way with my lady and a way with the wino

preachin like a preacher, healin people with the vinyl

Ugly Duckling Friday Night lighter then a dinner roll

solid as a mineral

PxMxWx Still Smokin’ im smokin on the weed, and my mama dont know

ya buy a pack of dubs ya split it in the middle

Eminem Square Dance im back now, ive come to release this info

ill be brief and let me just keep shit simple

Aesop Rock Save Yourself then disperse eye jammies for cats that swear by third pupil

but cant see past the loophole

Yukmouth Hey Boy stuntin like an eagle

so flossy in my street clothes

Continue reading

Using ‘As Fuck’ As To get Rap Adjectives

When people describe some word X to the ‘as fuck’ degree I think what they are attempting to do is to intensify a word to ‘amplify its meaning’.  Some people say that they get ‘high as fuck’ or describe themselves as being ‘dope as fuck’.  In the rap corpus, it seems that this is a thing that rappers say often.  Here is some data:

Word Count
high 35
broke 22
mad 17
drunk 13
hard 8
scared 7
hot 6
dope 6
cold 6
bad 6
ugly 5
hungry 5
fat 5
quick 4
good 4
fly 4
fine 4
down 4
deep 4
crazy 4
tired 3
tight 3
sick 3
serious 3
rich 3
real 3
dark 3
clean 3
young 2
white 2
wack 2
sure 2
sneaky 2
paranoid 2
nice 2
dumb 2
dead 2
crunk 2
cool 2
bored 2
big 2

The four most popular terms {high, drunk, mad, broke} that rappers ‘intensify’ seem to make sense.  Rappers seem to do drugs a lot, have no money and they are angry.

Rap Guys That Inspire Debate (Political)

There’s a cool paper by a smart academic guy from San Diego that talks about how people argue re: politics, online.  The original intention of the article, I think, was to use text classification tools (NB) to separate ‘left’ people from ‘right’ people.  It turns out though that the particular word usage of ‘left’/’right’ folks isn’t that different because in ‘heated debates’, both sides will use words like ‘gun control’ and ‘abortion’ to argue their points.  What he did find however was that, simply looking at how often people quote each other, we can, with good accuracy, determine someone’s political affiliation.  That is, ‘left’ people will quote ‘right’ people more often than they do fellow ‘left’ people (and vice versa).  Here is the quote from the paper discussing this:

Of the 41,605 posts by users classified as either left or right, 4,583 included quoted material from another user who could also be classified as either left or right. Of these, users strongly tended to quote other users at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Left users quote right users 62.2% of the time, and right users quote left users 77.5% of the time. In this respect the quoting relationship between posts appears to be markedly different from the inter-blog linking relationship discussed in Adamic & Glance(2005), in which liberal and conservative blog sites are shown largely to link to other sites of agreeing political outlook. The pattern here suggests a simple classification rule: assign a user the op- posite political affiliation of the users they tend to quote or be quoted by.

I did some stuff on trends in how people talk about artists on Youtube but something like how often people are replying to other posts, I woundn’t have thought of unless I read this paper.  It seems intuitive.  ‘Polarizing subjects’ will make people ‘reply’ to each other more often.  Old, boring people argue about things like politics, religion online.  So, if we take artists that generate a high volume of comments (ie. popular) and see how often people commenting ‘reply’ to each other, we find that the top 7 or so guys in this metric ‘make sense’.

Artist Reply Ratio
DC Talk 0.50
MF Doom 0.47
Immortal Technique 0.45
Aesop Rock 0.43
Army of the Pharaohs 0.43
Jedi Mind Trick 0.43
Flobots 0.42

The average Reply Ratio is about 0.28 so all these guys are way into their own group.  Almost all these dudes inspire some sort of weird debate.  Immortal Technique, Jedi Mind Tricks and Army of the Pharaohs with conspiracy theories.  Aesop Rock and MF Doom with quality of rap music and what rap should attempt to be.  DC Talk with religion and christianity and stuff like that.  I have no idea who Flobots are but I assume they fit somewhere in that discourse.


Album Review #2: Insomniac Funk

The next artist that took up my hella sweet offer to get shit-talked is Insomniac Funk, a backpacker group out of Vancouver consisting of two guys that rappity rap.  My notes from the songs Peace Is, AnyMic and  Can’t Escape This:

  • These guys are way, way into backpacker high-syllable per word range with an average of ~1.63.  That would be higher than Aesop Rock, Immortal Technique and almost any high-syllable per word rapper.  The idea with this kind of writing is to never address any idea or concept directly but to tap dance around it with awkward metaphors and synonymous words.  Lines like ‘i lost my sanity without societies sanitation‘ don’t really mean anything.  The consonance is sweet but ‘going crazy’ to a ‘shitty world’ isn’t that impressive of an idea that it needs those kinds of words.  I’m guessing these dudes really do try hard to write and rhyme well (Rhyme Density of 0.38 which is very good), but are sacrificing clear, concise ideas to drop ‘dope rhymes’.
  • In the track Peace Is there’s a running theme that the rapper is ‘going Cray’.  He explains that he gets high and chills out (‘no question i release some tension peace speaking/reach the dimensions and demons get sentenced‘) but it’s complicated to the point that any serious catharsis is lost and no listener will actually feel/understand the emotion behind what he wants to do.  Also, that song is way closer to Eminem Infinite than Eminem circa Marshall Mathers in terms of his Horrorscore.  Just like Eminem needed to lower his syllable per word average and get ‘darker’ to actually appeal/connect with anyone and make them give a shit, this dude probably needs a similar makeover.
  • This guy raps HELLA WHITE.  Using the race classification tool, he scored about as high as possible on the ‘white’ side as possible (14.49 White to 1.07 Black).  This would be okay if he didn’t have lines like ‘born a torn hustler…souls locked in crypts and prisons’.  Pronouncing the hard -ER suffix on ‘hustler’ and talking about prison only in terms of mystic ideas like a ‘soul’ is a dead giveaway that it’s something this guy is talking about only hypothetically and without authority.

A fun review and a cool bunch of tracks.

If you want me to shit-talk your album, please email me liban.aliyusuf [at]  Follow me at

Album Review 1: “patterns of benthic arthropods”

Taking up the offer I posted last night, doneshookdice asked for a ‘review’ of his album “patterns of benthic arthropods” which can be found at that link.  It’s a weird album.  Here are my notes from the album:

  • This album is clearly a solo endeavor.  He has an I:You ratio of 2.25 which is higher than any Drake song ever written.  He jumps back and forth between talking about his depression and boredom (‘I watch TV, a lot of stupid TV shows/And a lot of stupid video clips of stupid shit‘) to simple, ironic rap tropes that sound foreign coming from Jon (‘I use to be a dope dealer/I was all about the scrilla‘).
  • doneshookdice rarely hits anything longer than a 1-syllable rhyme.  Most of this album is Jon taking a shit on the idea that rhyming even matters which is cool.  His first song is almost all 1-syllable, perfect rhymes {head, bed, said}, {West, best, sex, text} or lines that don’t even rhyme or sound good rhythmically (‘I masturbate a lot sometimes/Sometimes, sometimes I want to lose my virginity’).  I actually like the idea of couplets that don’t rhyme and don’t attempt to but I think it works way better as non-sequitor.  Or maybe not.  The loneliness in masturbation/internet-browsing is something that a lot of young authors write about but I don’t really think it’s something rap acts discuss.  It goes against the machismo and bragging necassary to make fun rap to listen to.
  •  doneshookdice doesn’t just undermine himself with perfect 1-syllable rhyming words.  If he had simple rhymes with couplets that sounded good together rhythmically, it’d be more ‘acceptable’.  His lines are really short (~9 syllables/line) and the variation in line length is huge.  His syllable per line variance is ~3.12 syllables.  This shows that, even with short lines on average, Jon writes awkwardly placed long lines that mess with any sort of rhythm.  He never maintains ‘flow’, in the conventional sense.  It’s all very ‘anti-rap’ and a big fuck you to the listener (perhaps respectfully though, I’m not sure).

Anyways, doneshookdice is a cool dude and I hope he makes more music.  The music is pretty depressing and fun.  I think he’s fighting the good fight by being as anti-technical as possible.