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By The Numbers: 50 Cent didn't kill New York Hip-Hop, but did Kanye and Ebro?

Regardless of how vehemently you defend the 5 boroughs (and Jersey), the East Coast hip-hop hub that birthed the genre hasn't been ...

By The Numbers: How Often Do Rappers Mention Themselves? (Hard Stats)

1st: Nicki Minaj (11.5% of all words)
  • Three albums. 17,665 words. 2026 explicit references to herself
  • A self-reference every 8.78 words
  • 42.87 self-references per song
  • An average of 371.55 words per song
  • On "Right By My Side" she referenced herself every 3.5 words, or 28% of the song
  • Her most word-laden song is "All Things Go", at 718 words, with 67 self-references
Here is a pie chart that shows the breakdown of how Nicki references herself:


"I": 1262
"Me": 299
Third Person: 63
"My": 255
"You": 138
"Mine": 0

2nd: Kid Cudi (10.1% of all words)

  • 5 albums. 27,779 words. 2805 self-references
  • A self-reference every 9.89 words
  • 30.81 self-references per song
  • An average of 305 words per song
  • An average of 5555 words per album
  • An average of 561 mentions per album
  • "Insides Out" the most prolific song, at 20.9%, or a mention every 4.79 words
  • "We Aite" is his least prolific, with zero mentions
  • "Cudi Zone" has his highest word count at 578

"I": 1752
"Me": 393
Third Person: 115
"My": 476
"Mine": 7
"You": 62

3rd: Big Sean (9.9% of all words)
  • 4 albums. 25,201 words. 2502 mentions
  • A self-reference every 10.07 words
  • 47.37 references per song
  • An average of 477 words per song
  • An average of 6300 words per album
  • An average of 625.5 mentions per album
  • Most prolific: "First Chain", 14.6% or a mention every 6.8 words
  • "I Know" least prolific, with 0.4%, or every 22.3 words
  • Most words in a song: "Win Some, Lose Some": 802

"I": 1621
"Me": 365
Third Person: 44
"My": 281
"Mine": 28
"You": 163


4th: Future (9.9% of all words)

  • 6 albums. 45423 words. 4504 mentions
  • A self-reference every 10.1 words
  • 52.46 references per song
  • An average of 528 words per song
  • An average of 7571 words per album
  • An average of 751 mentions per album
  • Most prolific: "Groupies" with 20% or a mention every 5 words
  • Least prolific: "Selfish" with 0.2% or a mention every 60 words
  • Most words in a song: "Sorry" with 980



"I": 3013
"Me": 678
Third Person: 163
"My": 509
"Mine": 6
"You": 135

5th: Drake (9.7% of all words)


  • 6 albums. 45013 words. 4347 mentions.
  • A self-reference every 10.3 words
  • 42 references per song
  • An average of 420 words per song
  • An average of 7502 words per album
  • An average of 725 mentions per album
  • Most prolific: "Glow" with 18.1% or a mention every 5.5 words
  • Least prolific: "The Real Her" at 0.4% or a mention every 27 words
  • Most words in a song: "6PM In New York" with 912


"I": 2824
"Me": 819
Third Person: 73
"My": 411
"Mine": 14
"You": 206


6th: J. Cole (9.0% of all words)

  • 4 albums. 32260 words. 2900 mentions
  • A self-reference every 11.12 words
  • 54 references per song
  • An average of 604 words per song
  • An average of 8065 words per album
  • An average of 725 mentions per album
  • Most prolific: "St. Tropez" at 25.3% or a mention every 3.9 words
  • Least prolific: "Never Told" at 0.3% or a mention every 35 words
  • Most words in a song: "Note To Self" with 2332



"I": 1664
"Me": 451
Third Person: 183
"My": 384
"Mine": 12
"You": 206


7th. Kanye West (8.5% of all words)

  • 7 albums. 37064 words. 3143 mentions
  • A self-reference every 11.9 words
  • 28.35 references per song
  • An average of 336 words per song
  • An average of 5295 words per album
  • An average of 449 mentions per album
  • Most prolific: "I Love Kanye" at 28.7% or a mention every 3.5 words
  • Least prolific: "Crack Music" at 0.02% or a mention every 415 words
  • Most words in a song: "Last Call" with 2562



"I": 2002
"Me": 452
Third Person: 241
"My": 359
"Mine": 14
"You": 75


8th: A$AP Rocky (8.3% of all words)

  • 2 albums. 11,514 words. 964 mentions
  • A self-reference every 12.2 words
  • 28.9 references per song
  • An average of 348 words per song
  • An average of 5757 words per album
  • An average of 482 self-references per album
  • Most prolific: "Excuse Me" at 14.3% or a mention every 7 words
  • Least prolific: "West Side" at 0.3% or a reference every 36.9 words
  • Most words in a song: "Jukebox Joints" with 652


"I": 482
"Me": 147
Third Person: 96
"My": 213
"Mine": 1
"You": 25

9th: Jay-Z (8% of total words)

  • 13 albums. 93,342 words. 7473 self-references
  • A self-reference every 12.62 words
  • 38.7 references per song
  • An average of 481 words per song
  • An average of 7180 words per album
  •  575 self references per album
  • Most prolific: "A Dream" with  17.3% or a mention every 5.8 words
  • Least prolific: "The R.O.C." with zero mentions
  • Most words in a song: "Come and Get Me" with 989 words


"I": 3985
"Me": 1294
Third Person: 784
"My": 1021
"Mine": 53
"You": 336

10th. Kendrick Lamar (8% of all words)

  • 4 albums. 33517 words. 2682 mentions
  • A self-reference every 12.88 words
  • 47 mentions per song
  • An average of 585 words per song
  • And average of 8379 words per album
  • And average of 671 mentions per album
  • Most prolific: "u" at 19.9% or a self-reference every 5 words
  • Most words in a track: "Sing About Me" with 1668 words


"I": 1474
"Me" 455
Third Person: 30
"My": 500
"Mine": 5
"You": 218

11. Chance The Rapper (6.5% of all words)

  • 1 album. 4472 words. 292 mentions
  • A self-reference every 15.3 words
  • 298 words per song
  • 292 mentions per album
  • An average of 585 words 
  • Most prolific: "No Problem" (307th) with 0.8% or a mention every 12.6 words
  • Least prolific: "Same Drugs" with 0.2% or a self-referenceevery 41 words
  • Most words in a song: No Problem at 503 words
"I": 178
"Me": 57
Third Person: 12
"My": 39
"Mine": 0
"You": 6


Statistics related to "I", "Me", "You", "Mine", "My" and Third Person




Albums:

1. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday (12.72%, a mention every 7.86 words, 51 mentions per song)
2. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (11.71%, a mention every 8.54 words, 40.7 mentions per song)
3. Future - Honest (11.39%, a mention every 8.78 words, 52.6 mentions per song)
4. Kid Cudi - Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven (10.83%, a mention every 9.23 words, 20 mentions per song)
5. Kid Cudi - MOM: The End of Day (10.81%, a mention every 9.25 words, 43.46 mentions per song)
6. Big Sean - I Decided (10.61%, a mention every 9.42 words, 54 mentions per song)
7. Drake - Thank Me Later (10.61%, a mention every 9.42 words, 50 mentions per song)
8. Future - DS2 (10.43%, a mention every 9.58 words, 61 mentions per song)
9. Kid Cudi - MOM II (10.38%, a mention every 9.63 words, 32 mentions per song)
10. Drake - More Life (10.27%, a mention every 9.74 words, 27 mentions per song)
11. Future - Future (10.16%, a mention every 9.84 words, 59 mentions per song)
12. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo (10.11%, a mention every 9.89 words, 27 mentions per song)
13. Big Sean - Finally Famous (10.10%, a mention every 9.9 words, 40.5 mentions per song)
14. Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint (10.06%, a mention every 9.94 words, 36 mentions per song)
15. Future - Pluto (9.97%, a mention every 10.03 words, 46 mentions per song)
16. Kid Cudi - Indicud (9.95%, a mention every 10.05 words, 26 mentions per song)
17. Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late (9.77%, a mention every 10.23 words, 49 mentions per song)
18. Big Sean - Dark Sky Paradise (9.72%, a mention every 10.29 words, 55 mentions per song)
19. Jay-Z - American Gangster (9.64%, a mention every 10.37 words, 42 mentions per song)
20. Drake - VIEWS (9.60%, a mention every 10.42 words, 39 mentions per song)
21. Jay-Z - The Black Album (9.42%, a mention every 10.61 words, 55 mentions per song)
22. J. Cole - Born Sinner (9.33%, a mention every 10.72 words, 52 mentions per song)
23. Drake - Take Care (9.33%, a mention every 10.72 words, 43 mentions per song)
24. Big Sean - Hall of Fame (9.29%, a mention every 10.77 words, 41 mentions per song)
25. Future - HNDRXX (9.15%, a mention every 10.92 words, 47 mentions per song)
26. J. Cole - 4 Your Eyez Only (9.11%, a mention every 10.97 words, 56 mentions per song)
27. A$AP Rocky - At.Long.Last.A$AP (9.08%, a mention every 11.01 words, 32 mentions per song)
28. Kid Cudi - Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin' (8.83%, a mention every 11.33 words, 31 mentions per song)
29. J. Cole - Cole World: Sideline Story (8.83%, a mention every 11.33 words, 45 mentions per song)
30. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (8.75%, a mention every 11.43 words, 56 mentions per song)
31. Kanye West - Yeezus (8.73%, a mention every 11.45 words, 28 mentions per song)
32. J. Cole - Forest Hills Drive 2014 (8.72%, a mention every 11.47 words, 64 mentions per song)
33. Jay-Z - Vol. 3 (8.70%, a mention every 11.49 words, 53 mentions per song)
34. Future - EVOL (8.69%, a mention every 11.5 words, 49.41 mentions per song)
35. Drake - Nothing Was The Same (8.69%,  a mention every 11.5 words, 42 mentions per song)
36. Kanye West - College Dropout (8.67%,  a mention every 11.5 words, 35 mentions per song)
37. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city (8.66%,  a mention every 11.54 words, 62 mentions per song)
38. Jay-Z - The Blueprint (8.60%, a mention every 11.63 words, 49 mentions per song)
39. Jay-Z - Magna Carta, Holy Grail (8.59%, a mention every 11.64 words, 24 mentions per song)
40. Kanye West - Graduation (8.58%, a mention every 11.65 words, 34 mentions per song)
41. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come (8.56%, a mention every 11.7 words, 45 mentions per song)
42. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (8.06%, a mention every 12.4 words, 26 mentions per song)
43. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 (7.97%, a mention every 12.54 words, 34 mentions per song)
44. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (7.95%, a mention every 12.57 words, 42 mentions per song)
45. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreaks (7.58%, a mention every 13.2 words, 25 mentions per song)
46. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt (7.54%, a mention every 13.26 words, 32.5 mentions per song)
47. Kanye West - Late Registration (7.50%, a mention every 13.34 words, 24 mentions per song)
48. A$AP Rocky - LONG.LIVE.A$AP (7.50%, a mention every 13.34 words, 25 mentions per song)
49. Jay-Z - 444 (7.40%, a mention every 13.5 words, 31 mentions per song)
50. Jay-Z - Dynasty: Roc La Familia (7.24%, a mention every 13.81 words, 27 mentions per song)
51. Jay-Z - In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (7.04%, a mention every 14.2 words, 40 mentions per song)
52. Jay-Z - Vol 2... Hard Knock Life (6.90%, a mention every 14.5 words, 39 mentions per song)
53. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 2 (6.74%, a mention every 14.84 words, 32 mentions per song)
54. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book (6.53%, a mention every 15.31 words, 19 mentions per song)
55. Kendrick Lamar - Section.80 (6.26%, a mention every 15.98 words, 29 mentions per song)



Limitations:

  • You can think of the data-set as a sample. I haven't analysed mixtapes, loosies, deluxe edition songs, or guest spots. To do that would take a long time. 
  • I have included hooks and spoken word outros. They are part of an artists discography, so I believe they should be included.
  • I haven't got the time to analyse every single rapper in this class. Meek Mill and Mac Miller are two rappers I'd have included if I had more time, but I did a cursory analysis of their popular songs and they would have fallen back in the middle of the pack, so I didn't see much point.
  • I did this all by hand. No algorithms or programs or anything. I cut and pasted every word the main artist raps into a word-count website, and counted each individual reference myself. Some mentions are ambiguous, and generally I do not include phrases or words I am on the fence about. It has to be an explicit reference. 



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