The Hip-Hop Word Count a research database containing the natural language processing analysis, and associated data (artist name, song title, release date, geolocation, lyric content, sentiment analyses and rhyme pattern), from hundreds of thousands of hip-hop songs from 1979 to the present day.

According to a 2015 Spotify analysis of 20 billion streamed tracks, and a study of the Evolution of Popular Music: 1960-2020, rap music is now more popular than rock and is the most listened to genre in the world. By exploring rap music as a text, the Hip-Hop Word Count facilitates the experience, interpretation and comprehension of the meaning embedded in the language of the most influential art form for popular and youth culture—the corpus of American literature created by rap artists.

For 9 years the Rap Research Lab’s interdisciplinary team has maintained the Hip-hop Word Count. The Rap Research Lab is a community-based creative technology studio that empowers youth and educators to explore rap as a cultural indicator through educational, editorial, and creative interrogations. The communities addressed by this question are part of the project’s very DNA, and the very reason it exists and continues to gain support. We are a cross-functional team of artists, radical educators, narrative designers, software developers and researchers who use rap as a lens through which we can better understand popular and youth culture, explore questions of social justice, and facilitate empowerment through community data projects. We explore rap music as a text that raises questions of identity, race, gender, class, place, and locality in our modern era.

In order to keep track of the research projects of our growing community, we ask that you first fill out the intake form here.

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