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Did Lil Wayne's Obsession With "Pussy" Hurt His Career? (No, it didn't, here is the data to prove it)

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Lil Wayne loves pussy. He's the "Pussy Monster", he places it on equal standing with money and weed, and he once told 2 Chainz "you can make a million rappin' 'bout some pussy", advice the veteran emcee took to heart. But there are those that criticise his reliance on pussy as a punchline, a lyrical technique, and a subject to be plundered incessantly, so much so he had to defend himself in 2014 during an interview, saying "what you want me to talk about, the world? Like, come on man".

But has this subject contributed to the gradual decline in the quality of his music? Regardless of how strong your allegiance is to Wayne, 2008 was his peak. His incarceration in 2010 signalled the end of his consistency, and his projects oscillated wildly from good (Carter IV, S4TW, D5, FWA) to mediocre (S4TW2, D4) to poor (IANAHB2, NC2).

But did his subject matter also contribute to this decline in quality?

I am aware of this Noisey article, which lists all of Wayne's studio albums and the amount of times he's said pussy on them. But that article has no narrative attached to it, doesn't include ColleGrove or T-Wayne, and only focuses on his solo records, no mixtapes and no guest verses. I've dug even deeper, using the lyric website Genius. I've analysed 978 of Wayne's songs and guest spots that appear on Genius, and although Wayne has a rumoured 2,000 strong catalogue, a lot of the lyrics to these songs aren't available, or they're mash-ups, or they were never properly released. I've also analysed how often his guests use the word, and which of his guests is the most prolific. Thus far, this is the most comprehensive review of Wayne's use of the word "pussy".

Let us try and answer the question: Is there any correlation between Wayne's use of the word "pussy" and his album sales and critical acclaim?

Here are his statistics, by year first:


Year         Songs (on Genius)         Lil Wayne "Pussy"          Guest "Pussy"
1999                     19                         0                  2
2000                     21                         2                  2
2001                      2                          2                  0
2002                     28                         3                  5
2003                      4                         0                  0
2004                     36                        31                  0
2005                     63                        16                   0
2006                     87                        34                  7
2007                     90                        72                  6
2008                     98                        68                  7
2009                    69                        53                    9
2010                        55                        34                  4
2011                     66                        60                 33
2012                     50                        94                 27
2013                      80                       142                 33
2014                     30                        13                  7
2015                     93                        75                 24
2016                     54                        11                 10
2017                     33                         7                 10


Totals

Songs: 978
Wayne "Pussy": 717
Guest "Pussy": 186


Findings:

  • Prior to 2004 and his breakthrough record The Carter, Wayne rarely uttered the word, and usually only used it to call out weak men rather than express love for the female anatomy.
  • The more famous Wayne became, the more he used it, culminating in 142 instances in 2008, almost undoubtedly his watershed year, when he was slaying all-comers on guest verses and releasing his near-classic Tha Carter III
  • Between 2005 and 2009, his most critically acclaimed period, he used the word 243 times, compared the previous 5 years (38).
  • Compare that to the 5 years from 2010 to 2015, arguably the period when Wayne fell out of favour with critics and casual fans. He used it 418 times!
  • Post-2015 he has curtailed his use significantly, uttering pussy just 18 times, but his output has also decreased somewhat. 
  • Only 3 years have seen Wayne's guests or artists he's guested for use the word more than him: 2017, 2002, and 1999.
  • Wayne uses the word approximately 0.73 times per song, or once every 1.36 songs. 
  • For every one time a collaborator has used it, Wayne has used it 3.85 times.
  • His most prolific year was 2013, when he said it 142 times, followed by 2012 (94), 2015 (75), 2007 (72) and 2008 (68)
The average amount of times Wayne said "pussy" per song, by year:

1999: 0
2000: 0.1
2001: 1
2002: 0.1
2003: 0
2004: 0.86
2005: 0.25
2006: 0.39
2007: 0.8
2008: 0.69
2009: 1.3
2010: 1.62
2011: 0.9
2012: 1.88
2013: 1.775
2014: 0.43
2015: 0.80
2016: 0.20
2017: 0.21

This info tells us 2012 was the year he actually said the word the most per-song, a staggering 1.88 times, closely followed by 2013 with 1.78

Of note, in 2016 he said it just 0.2 times per song, or about once every 5 songs, the least since 2003. 2017 is following a similar pattern, and in fact since the stratospheric heights of 2012 and 2013, Wayne's use has dropped dramatically through years 2014-2017. 

Per album/Mixtape:

  • Tha Block Is Hot: 0
  • Lights Out: 2
  • 500 Degreez: 3
  • The Prefix: 21
  • Da Drought 2: 1
  • Tha Carter: 6
  • The Suffix: 4
  • Tha Carter II: 7
  • The Dedication: 5
  • Dedication 2: 16
  • Like Father, Like Son: 5
  • Lil Weezy Ana: 4
  • Da Drought Is Over 2 (Tha Carter 3 Sessions): 41
  • Da Drought 3: 10
  • Tha Carter III: 50
  • Dedication 3: 6
  • No Ceilings: 28
  • T-Wayne: 0 
  • Rebirth: 0
  • I Am Not A Human Being: 16
  • Sorry 4 The Wait: 18
  • Tha Carter IV: 22
  • Dedication 4: 38
  • I Am Not A Human Being II: 62
  • Dedication 5: 38
  • Sorry 4 The Wait 2: 28
  • Free Weezy Album: 13
  • No Ceilings 2: 18
  • ColleGrove: 5
The raw data tells us his 2013 album, I Am Not A Human Being II, often called out for its over-reliance on crude humour and sex talk, is easily his most prolific "pussy" project, with 62 mentions of the female genetalia. You might be surprised that second is Tha Carter III, with 50 mentions. This is his most critically acclaimed record, so we can say unequivocally using the word pussy did not hurt Wayne's career. Beloved projects like No Ceilings, Dedication 2, and Tha Carter IV all feature heavy use of the word. His most chastised release, Rebirth, doesn't have a single pussy mention!

And the song that features pussy the most? "Pussy, Money, Weed", with 37. Next highest? "Pussy Monster", then "Tomorrow" from 2004 mixtape The Prefix!

Limitations

  • This study is limited to Wayne's songs for which the lyrics are available on website Genius. Some sources claim Wayne has over 2000 songs out in the world, but this study only includes the 978 real songs found on Genius
  • This doesn't distinguish between the different definitions of "pussy". Post-2006, most of his references refer to the female genetalia, but prior to that a lot of Wayne's use of the word was to call out men he claimed were acting "pussy", or like females. 
  • I haven't used anyone elses statistics in this article, I counted everything myself, by hand. Our figures may differ, I can't speak on their methodology or their accuracy, but I have checked my statistics twice. 
  • I have published my raw figures here, but this is a draft merely meant for statistical purposes




















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