Shakespeare used to brag that he knew more than 100,000 words and had the largest known vocabulary in literature. Think again Bill, because a designer, coder, and data scientist named Matt Daniels cracked this misconception and found that the legendary poet used only 28,829 unique words. But in even cooler news, Daniels put his skills to work to create a super interesting infographic about how many unique words rappers use in their lyrics — and the results are pretty intriguing.
Daniels noted that he decided to compare Shakespeare's data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. He said: "I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake."
The data Daniels collected can be viewed all at once, by region in the U.S., by artist. Using a research methodology called token analysis to determine each artist’s vocabulary, Daniels said each word is counted once. Therefore, kiss, kisses, kissing, and kissin' are four unique words.
Daniels included 85 artists, such as Eminem, Lil' Kim and Wale in his dataset. The graphic is below, and you can play around with it here to see who is the top wordsmith. As for the least articulate rapper? Well, no one ever said "Y'all gonna make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here. Y'all gonna make me go all out, up in here, up in here" was a lyrical masterpiece...
Image: Matt Daniels