Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Brief Study in Hip Hop - Profanity

Anyone that knows me will know that I'm an avid fan of hip hop. Most of the music that I listen to is in that genre, and is pretty well restricted to the 1996-2003 era. During that time, the lyrical content of hip hop songs came under heavy fire. Parents and governmental agencies alike attacked the music and the culture for promoting violence, disrespect for authority, and particularly, profane language.  I remember those debates well, and I vividly remember not being allowed to listen to songs or certain radio stations because of their lyrical content.

Now I'm somewhat older, questionably wiser, far more of an analyst, and am possessed with a similar level of curiosity for the world as I had when I heard my first Biggie track. I've played my favorite songs over and over again, chock full of the profanity that I missed as a kid, and I noticed that yeah, those songs are really, really not for kids.  But I could only feel that way one track at a time.  I get my 3 minutes and 30 seconds to make my judgement, then it's on to the next (on-on to the next) one.  Quantitatively, however, I don't really have a clue just how thick it is.  As such, I've decided to join two of my loves—data analysis and hip hop culture—and answer the following question: just how much vulgarity exists in the heights of hip hop?