Using rap word frequency charts offered by website RapGenius.com, Mycenaean staff writer Dave Nyamu analyzes several intriguing trends in modern hip-hop.
Blackberry vs. iPhone
The iPhone, as well as other smartphones, have eclipsed the Blackberry in popularity. While Blackberry is attempting a comeback, it still lags far behind the iPhone. In fact, if rap is any indication of popularity, the iPhone was more popular the Blackberry by its first release. However, Blackberry had maintained a giant unofficial endorsement from Grammy winner Drake. Blackberry’s recent attempt at rekindling it’s old popularity has held no weight in the rap community, despite its endorsement by R&B singer Alicia Keys.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
The two historical franchises are perhaps the most iconic in the NBA. While the Knicks aren’t the perennial winners that the Lakers are, they have a rabid fanbase. Of course, basketball is a huge deal in New York. The graph almost perfectly shows the New York Knicks’ road from champions, to bottom feeders and back to the contenders they are now. The Los Angeles Lakers have enjoyed a steady presence in rap, probably thanks to a man named Kobe Bean Bryant. The 5- time NBA champion has had songs dedicated to him, even by Lil Wayne at his peak. However, as the Lakers’ title hopes have dwindled recently, so has their relevance in the rap community.
College vs. Prison
Much to my surprise, college is mentioned more than prison by rappers. Upon further research, the number of rappers who have a college degree may surprise you. J. Cole, Ice Cube, Ludacris, Lil Jon, and even Flava Flav all have earned a degree. Do not judge a book by its cover, because nothing about Flava Flav says “college”.
Jesus vs. Allah vs. Buddha
Christianity is the most prevalent religion in the rap community, which is not surprising. What is surprising is the mentioning of Buddha, almost equalling that of Allah. While Jesus remains the most mentioned religious figure in hip-hop, Allah has maintained a steady presence in the rap community. Perhaps this is a reflection of Islam in the black community, and rappers such as Lupe Fiasco expressing their Muslim beliefs.
Crunk vs. Turn Up
Different words, same meaning: to get excited, or as the always entertaining Urban Dictionary puts it, “to let loose and have fun.” The word “crunk” had been a staple of southern rap, made famous by Lil Jon. “Turn up” has replaced that; this just shows the how words can be fads as much as clothes or electronics.