Cool Project: The Hip-Hop Word Count

Visualizing hip hop's cultural and linguistic migration


Congrats are in order to Tahir Hemphill (above), who was just announced today as one of the recipients of the 2012 Creative Capital grant in Visual Arts for his ongoing project, The Hip-Hop Word Count.  It’s a searchable almanac comprised of over 40,000 hip-hop songs from 1979 to the present.  From the official description:

The database is at the heart of an online analysis tool that generates textual and quantified reports on searched phrases, syntax, memes and socio-political ideas. The Hip-Hop Word Count locks in a time and geographic location for every metaphor, simile and cultural reference used in the corpus of hip hop. The data can be used to chart the migration of ideas and helps build a geography of this unique language.

Tahir is an award-winning creative director and multimedia artist working in the areas of interdisciplinary thought, collaboration and research.

Check out one of the several Rap Research Groups he’s convened:

Additional links:

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Rob Fields is the founder and publisher of Bold As Love Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @robfields.

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