Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

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Blanco
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Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Blanco » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:33 am

The Telegraph wrote:Eminem is the most verbose musician of all time, a study has found, while Mariah Carey, The Who and The Beatles are among the artists with the lowest musical vocabulary.

Research by Musixmatch has compiled the 100 most linguistically dense songs of the top 93-selling artists ever.

They then compared the word count of these songs by their unique word use, the total number of words used and how often they used a new word to find the artist with the widest vocabulary.

Not entirely surprisingly, hip-hop artists come out on top, with the Real Slim Shady singer taking a considerable lead: Eminem has a phenomenal word count of 8,818, which presumably includes the likes of "Mekhi Phifer", the American actor quoted in Lose Yourself, and "Munchausen's Syndrome" on Cleanin' Out My Closet.

The other top four artists are Jay-Z (6,899 words), Tupac Shakur (6,569 words), Kanye West (5,069) and Bob Dylan, who has a lexicon of 4,883 words, making him the top folk artist in the chart, as well as the musician who uses a new word in his songs most frequently, an average of one every nine words.

As the author of the study says, vocabulary size is no indicator of whether "one musician is better than the other". However, it is interesting to see how pop, rock and RnB artists sit along the scale.

The average word count is 2,667 words. Even the linguistic dexterity of Bohemian Rapsody couldn't raise Queen's score above 2,668, while Taylor Swift's countless mentions of kissing in the rain levelled her score at 2,524.

Michael Jackson, Katy Perry and Neil Diamond have smaller vocabularies than the average, while Paul McCartney has a higher word count as a solo artist (1,903) than with The Beatles (1,872).

Celine Dion is the only artist to appear in both the top 15 for vocabulary size and certified album sales, and, with a word count of 3,954, she more or less parallels Prince, whose count totals 3,906.
You can read the rest of the study and see the infographic here.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Blanco » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:53 pm

Come on guys, the forum is to discuss and comment!
The title seems somewhat sensationalist, I agree.
The article seems unusual for me and I expected some comment in favor or against. For my part, I have found it funny. I think that, just like Haruki Murakami says, it does not matter a large vocabulary. What really matters is properly convey the message.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by PlasticRam » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:56 pm

Yeah I think Eminem is a good example of that where he comes up with these words that rhyme really well together, but it's not that meaningful.
I feel like that

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Sweepstakes Ron » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:59 pm

To be fair, you can't really quantify Bob Dylan's mumbling.
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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by BleuPanda » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:13 pm

I feel like this would largely be a reflection of genre. Rap and folk largely don't rely on repetition like other genres, so it seems logical those genres would naturally have a wider vocabulary. Thus, the list doesn't really get my interest as I'm not sure what it establishes that isn't already known.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Nassim » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:18 pm

I think the "NWI" indicator is the most interesting one, which gives the edge to Dylan. The way "vocabulary size" is defined just means Eminem and Kanye speak more, but for the same amount of words Dylan has a richer vocabulary.
That would also put R.E.M. among the one with the richest vocabulary, given the big disadvantage they have or having much less "verbose" songs, though I guess "It's the End of the World" by itself gives them a big boost.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Listyguy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:48 pm

Quality over quantity. Kanye has so many bad lyrics I don't even want to count, and half of Eminem's are describing violent shit him and/or the characters of his songs are doing.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by bootsy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:26 pm

Listyguy wrote:Quality over quantity. Kanye has so many bad lyrics I don't even want to count, and half of Eminem's are describing violent shit him and/or the characters of his songs are doing.
Both of those artists have quality give me a break.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Listyguy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:04 pm

bootsy wrote:
Listyguy wrote:Quality over quantity. Kanye has so many bad lyrics I don't even want to count, and half of Eminem's are describing violent shit him and/or the characters of his songs are doing.
Both of those artists have quality give me a break.
I'm speaking strictly lyrically here. I like Kanye and Eminem's music. But as far as their lyrics are concerned, they aren't in the same league as Dylan ("It ain't even the same damn sport!").

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by bootsy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:52 pm

Listyguy wrote:
bootsy wrote:
Listyguy wrote:Quality over quantity. Kanye has so many bad lyrics I don't even want to count, and half of Eminem's are describing violent shit him and/or the characters of his songs are doing.
Both of those artists have quality give me a break.
I'm speaking strictly lyrically here. I like Kanye and Eminem's music. But as far as their lyrics are concerned, they aren't in the same league as Dylan ("It ain't even the same damn sport!").
I am too and both have quality with their lyrics. It doesn't matter whether you think they aren't in the same league as Dylan, but to say they aren't quality is ridiculous. This isn't about better written songs or better lyrics it's about how Kanye and Eminem have a wider vocabulary which this article says they do. But because it says Dylan all the high and mighty will get offended and think that means they are better than Dylan when it clearly doesn't.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Listyguy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:13 pm

bootsy wrote:
Listyguy wrote:
bootsy wrote: Both of those artists have quality give me a break.
I'm speaking strictly lyrically here. I like Kanye and Eminem's music. But as far as their lyrics are concerned, they aren't in the same league as Dylan ("It ain't even the same damn sport!").
I am too and both have quality with their lyrics. It doesn't matter whether you think they aren't in the same league as Dylan, but to say they aren't quality is ridiculous. This isn't about better written songs or better lyrics it's about how Kanye and Eminem have a wider vocabulary which this article says they do. But because it says Dylan all the high and mighty will get offended and think that means they are better than Dylan when it clearly doesn't.
Sure, Kanye has some good lyrics, but I can promise you lyrics are not the main reason I listen to Kanye. Half of his lyrics are middle school playground retorts. Also you seem to be getting much more offended than I am by this.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by bootsy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:04 pm

Listyguy wrote: Sure, Kanye has some good lyrics, but I can promise you lyrics are not the main reason I listen to Kanye. Half of his lyrics are middle school playground retorts. Also you seem to be getting much more offended than I am by this.
LOL I'm not offended by this. That is all you at this point by specifically pointing out that you take quality over quantity. Well good for you but that's not the point of this article. And you also seem to be backtracking because you pretty much said initially that Kanye didn't have very good lyrics and now Kanye has 'some good lyrics'.

The point of this article is not about the quality of lyrics which you seem to be stuck on for some reason. No one is taking anything away from Dylan's quality by saying Kanye and Eminem have a wider vocabulary than Dylan.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Jirin » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:56 am

I'm not a fan of the violent content of Eminem's lyrics but in terms of flow and meter his lyrics are fantastic. He expresses horrible things in a wonderful, elegant way.

But yeah, Kanye's kind of like "I'm great I'm great I'm great, man I'm so persecuted for being great."

I'm not surprised pop songs come in last. I wonder how low pop-country scores. Subterranean Homesick Blues is kind of like a rap song. I wonder where Tom Waits would score.

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by PlasticRam » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:50 am

I like Kanye's lyricism. 808s and after especially.

I guess the point about Yeezus was that they're not meant to be "great" lyrics, but it's more the in your face attitude that the beats have too. Kinda like Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.
I feel like that

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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by luney6 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:02 pm

Won't average song length also affect the results?
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Re: Kanye and Eminem have wider vocabularies than Bob Dylan

Post by Nick » Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:09 pm

PlasticRam wrote:I like Kanye's lyricism. 808s and after especially.
Agreed. I don't think Kanye is a great lyricist, he's certainly no Bob Dylan or Nas, but I do think he's overall a "good" lyricist. He does have some lyrical clunkers, but I don't think his reputation as a mediocre lyricist is earned at all.

And as for the criticism that his lyrics are just him going "I'm so great", I can honestly think of only about 5 or 6 songs where that's the case (excluding the entirety of "Watch the Throne", because that album is pretty much I'M SO GREAT: THE ALBUM).

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