Lyric annotating website Rapgenius.com released a new search feature that allows users to search words in rap songs over time. Since Q-Tips, there’s never been a better way to see what’s in our ears.
Like a YouTube video, slang isn’t cool if your mom knows what it is, which means that coolness in hip-hop is a zero-sum game. For products and rapcronyms to be hip, they need others to hop out of the spotlight. The majority of these graphs show one word falling out of favor, while another proudly takes its place.
Below are my favorite findings from the system. I am mildly jealous that @SameOldSean got the first crack at this database. His findings can be found on RapGenius, and more are available on Twitter via #RapStats.
I can only hope RapGenius releases a comparable version of this for its Bible annotator, so I can see which apostle is running the game.
You and I
“You and I Are Inversely Related” would be an awful name for a breakup track, but it’s true. I can’t talk about me and talk about you. The late 2000s saw a rise in egotistical hip-hop and social media narcissism. Trinidad James is still “on Instagram, straight flexin’”
Rappers were fearless in 2000…
Passing the Torch
The yellow “Jay-Curve” was influenced heavily by Jam Master Jay in the ‘90's, until Sean Carter came around. Mr. Z is clearly the influencer of the Jay Curve today. This is reminiscent of Ken Pomeroy’s Kobe v. Shaq baby name analysis.
Make Up Your Mind Already
It is safest to call him Diddy now, but there was confusion.
In an epic homophone battle, Nicki Minaj has more rappers willing to use her name instead of menage. This is most likely rhyming with “garage” or “message”
What Kind of Car To Wake Up In?
Bottles in the Club
Hip Hop shifted from a laid back beer and weed vibe to excessive name-brand party-rap. This isn’t a bad thing, because it gave us both “93 Til Infinity” as well as “Versace”. It also appears like Ciroc is taking some of Patron’s market share, just as Patron took from Crystal and Hennessey before.
War on Drugs
Keeping with the drug and party theme, as rap culture evolves, so does drug culture. They’re definitely saying molly, not Miley.
Always Be My Baby
No girlfriend pet name has the staying power of “babe”. Your shorty, boo, or honey won’t be around forever.
The End of an Era
Being Lil’ used to be big.
End In Sight
Luckily, we have evidence that “swag” has plateaued and that all good things, including “jiggy,” must come to an end.