Anyone who had to read Shakespeare knows how dense his works can be. He used a huge amount of different words, all of which have been academically recorded. Shakespeare indeed used a lot of words, but did you know that some of our most well known rappers have outdone the English wordsmith?
Shakespeare “weighs in” at 28,829 unique words used throughout all his works. For the study conducted by Matt Daniels, each artist would be counted by their number of unique words used in their first 35,000 lyrics. When we look back at Shakespeare for his first 35,000 lyrics, he only sits at 5,170 unique words. As another point of reference, Daniels included Herman Melville’s Moby Dick which sits at 6,022 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics. So, without further delay, lets see three rappers/groups that have outdone Shakespeare himself!
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1. Aesop Rock
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Let me start by saying, I am a huge fan of Aesop Rock. Aes uses a huge amount of words in each of his songs, so much that many people criticize his style as verbose. However, every word used in his raps are there for a reason. If you look at the chart, you’ll see that Aesop Rock is on the far right with 7,392 unique words in his first 35,000 lyrics. He beats everyone on the list ranking in at first place. If you haven’t already checked out Aesop Rock, I highly recommend that you do.
2. The Entire Wu-Tang Clan
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The entire Wu-Tang Clan really “ain’t nuthin’ ta fuck wit” (as their single of the same name explains). They surpass Shakespeare’s word count with a collective average of 5,895 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics. Each member of the beloved rap group contributes their own shared amount. However, the most noteworthy member may be GZA since he takes the second place spot after Aesop Rock. As a whole, The Wu-Tang Clan comes in at sixth place. GZA’s exact word count at the number two spot is 6,426 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics, but this is only counting his solo works.
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Outkast barely makes it past Shakespeare, but sadly the rap group could not beat Herman Melville’ s Moby Dick. They total in at 5,212 unique words per first 35,000 lyrics, beating Shakespeare by only a slim 42 words. Thanks to their diverse use of slang, portmanteau, and southern drawl, Outkast is able to also be recorded in history as beating Shakespeare along with Aesop Rock and the entire Wu-Tang Clan.
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