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Finding the history of 'bling-bling' with Hip Hop Word Count

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Berlin Boombox
Berlin Boombox

Tahir Hemphill is creating a database that tracks the history of every word that has ever been used in hip-hop lyrics. The project is called Hip Hop Word Count, and it can reveal information such as where the phrase "bling-bling" first appeared (in a 1993 track by Super Cat), and how it traveled to other locations and artists. Hemphill shares with The New Yorker how the idea for Hip Hop Word Count came to him, as well as a few of the interesting word evolutions that he's seen so far. The project hasn't left closed beta since completing a Kickstarter campaign two years ago, but a number of initial lyrical analyses that include syllable breakdown and reading level are available to view right now.