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A Rap Concordance


Drawing on the brilliant hip hop powerpoint that made the rounds some time ago, I built a Processing sketch that builds a concordance of hip hop lyrics (in this case, Biggie Smalls’s, though any text can be fed in) and creates a series of appropriate data visualizations.

The code is here and here. It’s inelegantly hard coded in order to display nicely, but if my goal were to generalize the program to work for any hip hop lyrics, I’d build a nice interface that allowed you to select the words to be compared.

It would be cool to assemble concordances of various different rappers’ lyrics and compare the preferred pastimes of, say, Snoop and Biggie. I can imagine the categories being something along the lines of smokin’, blastin’, chillin’, raising hands in the aiyah, etc.


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