Misogyny in Hip-Hop Put Under the Microscope in Online Study
Published Nov 02, 2015Though not exclusive to hip-hop, many have labelled the genre a hotbed for misogynistic activity. A statistics website is now trying to catalogue who uses the most sexist wordplay in the rap world, with a grand-scale lyrics scan placing Lil B at the top of the list.
A website called Hip-Hop Misogyny Stats was started up earlier this year, and it has scoured through the archives of lyrics site Rap Genius to tally uses of words like "bitch," "pussy" and "ho." The methods applied to the study analyze an artist's Top 20 songs, according to Rap Genius, and what's contained in those lyrics. If there aren't more than 20 songs in the lyric website's database, that artist or group didn't make it into the study.
A note from website founder Mehan Jayasuriya, a writer that's worked for the Guardian and a faculty member at NYU's computer science department, explains: "Personally, I listen to a lot of hip-hop; a large part of my motivation in working on this project was to attempt to quantify my own exposure to casual misogyny through music."
Since launching in the spring, and according to the variables set within, the Hip-Hop Misogyny Stats website has determined that Lil B is the worst offender. Scanning through the Top 20 of his hundreds and hundreds of tracks, he used the word "bitch" 239 times, "pussy" 13 times and "ho" 38 times, totalling a score of 290.
Other artists ranked high on the list include Too $hort (with an overall score of 245), Bobby Shmurda (205), Lil Wayne (183), Nicki Minaj (192), Dr. Dre (154) and Chief Keef (144).
Closer to the bottom of the list, you'll find Drake, whose Top 20 songs only use the word "bitch" six times, Pharrell, A Tribe Called Quest, Yasiin Bey, Heems, GZA, Kid 'n Play, MF DOOM and more.
Interestingly, El-P shows up as a solo artist near the bottom bracket with 10 misogynistic words, while his Run the Jewels project with Killer Mike ups the number to 41. Killer Mike's solo work weighs in with 37 complicated word drops.
More bizarre, despite being a study focused on misogyny in hip-hop, the site includes listings for Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Billy Joel, Nine Inch Nails, the reverend Al Sharpton and the MTV network.
Another complication with the study may be that it weighs in on word usage but not tone or actual subject matter. While it's unclear if the study has been updated since the spring, its parameters wouldn't necessarily pick up a song like Drake's recent "Hotline Bling," which is currently ranked on Rap Genius as the most popular song by the 6 God. Though it doesn't contain words like "bitch," one could argue that Drake shaming a woman by lamenting that she's no longer "a good girl" because she's "gettin' nasty for someone else" is highly suspect.
As for Nicki Minaj, her use of the word "bitch" doesn't always land with an explicitly negative connotation (think "Baddest Bitch").
Currently, the study highlights how much misogynistic language was used by an artist, but it doesn't specify which songs were inspected, beyond that they had at one point been listed as an artist's Top 20 songs on Rap Genius.