MUSIC - 'The Hip-Hop Word Count (HHWC) is a searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 40,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day. The database is the heart of an online analysis tool that generates textual and quantified reports on searched phrases, syntax, memes and socio-political ideas.
The idea to build the Hip-Hop Word Count came out of having hundreds of heated & passionate discussions about Rap music: Who was the best rapper of all time? Which rapper had the smartest songs? Which was the most popular champagne in Hip-Hop during 1999-2003? Which rapper uses the most clever metaphors? Which city's rap songs use the most monosyllabic words? Does living in higher altitudes create a natural proclivity for Gangster Rap?'
What intrigues us is the ability to search music lyrics for brand names and brand references. To be able to understand which rappers were talking about which brands at what point in time. You could easily take the data and see which car brands rappers talked about most frequently in the summer of 2004 in their lyrics, or which fashion brand was on the lips of the hip-hop community in 2006. Personally we would like to use it to track the rise and fall of particular alcohol brands in hip-hop; from Snoop's Seagram's gin (1993) to the clunky reference to Courvoisier by Busta (2002) and chart these references next to sales over time. We wonder whether these nods to the bottles on the top shelf have any long lasting effect on the fortunes of the brands?