- Twitter hid post from an account linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Today 10:17 AM
- How to stream Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera for free Today 8:00 AM
- ‘Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy’ finds the balance between tragedy and comedy Today 7:30 AM
- How to stream Michael ‘Venom’ Page vs. Paul Daley for free Today 7:00 AM
- How to watch the NBA Dunk Contest 2019 online for free Today 6:50 AM
- The best new TV shows to stream this weekend Today 6:00 AM
- Bug lets Twitter save your DMs—even after you delete them Friday 7:21 PM
- Guy mansplains song to Japanese Breakfast, the female artist who wrote the song Friday 6:38 PM
- Ann Coulter’s Twitter bio links to a vulgar parody account Friday 5:22 PM
- Popular YouTube music channel gets income yanked for ‘repetitious’ content Friday 4:14 PM
- New website will endlessly generate fake faces thanks to AI Friday 3:41 PM
- Man fakes getting stood up at Outback Steakhouse Friday 3:03 PM
- FCC looks to tackle robocalls and spoofed texts Friday 2:57 PM
- How to protect yourself from the data breach that affected 744 million accounts Friday 12:56 PM
- How to stream Rob Brant vs. Khasan Baysangurov online for free Friday 12:21 PM
Now you can see how Eminem, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Kanye West stack up against Shakespeare.
Many have mused on the relationship between Shakespeare and hip-hop.
“If you look at real hip-hop, your KRS-Ones, your Chuck Ds, it’s poetry, it’s social commentary, it’s documenting history,” argued rapper Akala in 2009. “And in three or 400 years, people will probably look upon it as such. There were those who frowned upon Shakespeare’s work in his time, but it was a reflection of reality.”
Now thanks to Matt Daniels, a data scientist from New York City, there’s a much easier way to draw that comparison.
Shakespeare used a total of 28,829 unique words in his work, leading some to believe he had one of the largest vocabularies ever. Looking at the first 5,000 words of seven classic works, Daniels used a technique called token analysis to determine that the Bard used 5,170 unique words in that span.
That’s the benchmark Daniels measured rappers against, based on data provided by Rap Genius. Daniels similarly limited his research to an artist’s first 35,000 lyrics—roughly three to five studio albums (EPs and mixtapes included)—to have an even measuring stick for both veteran and emerging rappers. (Unfortunately, that means artists like Kendrick Lamar and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard didn’t have enough material to be included.)
So how does your favorite stack up? For more interactive elements, skip straight to Daniels’ original piece, but in general, indie rapper Aesop Rock—included by Reddit’s popular demand—came out ahead of even Shakespeare, with 7,392 unique words used.
Overall, Wu-Tang Clan dominated the charts.
Breaking the findings down by region, the East Coast had the highest average by far (4,804).
Surprisingly, Kanye West, 2Pac, Lil Wayne, and Snoop Dogg—four of the biggest names in rap history—fell in the bottom 20 percent.
H/T Matt Daniels | Photo of Wu-Tang Clan via Amoeba Records
Austin Powell is the managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.