Rap Genius 2.0: Uncovering the Hidden Layers of Hip Hop Lyrics via Data Viz
We decorate space with art, and time with music.
Music is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It can lift our mood, get us through tough times and inspire and motive us to pursue our goals. It can send us back in time to relive memories, and bond with our friends as we dance and sing to our favorite lyrics.
But as much pleasure as it brings to our ears, music itself has traditionally been mostly an auditory experience.
What if we could see rhyme patterns, metaphors and analogies in our favorite lyrics? What if we could visualize an artist’s lyrical progression over time?
These are the questions I pondered in early 2015, as I explored how data visualization could synesthetically bridge the gap between our senses, so we can visually experience literary devices in lyrics and gain interesting insight in the process.
Every artist has a unique literary fingerprint.
Explore the use of literary devices over the course of their discography and see how they’ve evolved over time:
Isolate literary devices such as alliterations to view top rated ones as voted by the community and visualize their use in albums to see discographical trends:
Easily visualize how often and where alliterations appear- right on top of song’s actual sound wave graph! Click to see the lyrics or even better- hear them:
Ever wonder what your favorite album is made of lyrically? Explore an album’s literary DNA to gain insights behind the lyrics you love:
See rhymes, don’t just read them.
Visualize literary elements while exploring statistics such as lyrical complexity, unique rhymes, average syllables per bar and literary distribution:
Isolate individual rhyme scheme to study their lyrical makeup:
See an overview of the lyrical composition via the Literary Spectrogram:
No two artist are alike.
Visualize their literary differences and see what makes them unique:
The Power of Data Viz
As our world faces ever-increasing challenges in terms of complexity and scale, data visualization is is a powerful tool to give us a new perspective on old problems. It can help us uncover patterns and trends that are otherwise virtually undetectable. Coupled with the advancements in machine learning, we can expect to see more exciting and insightful visualizations from the least expected areas.
I named the project “Rap Genius 2.0” as Genius.com has the existing mechanisms to potentially make it a reality, as well as a thriving community of passionate contributors. I am not affiliated nor do I represent Genius.