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Hip-Hop Out-Charted Pop By 227 Weeks in 2017

It may come as no surprise, but hip-hop was the most popular genre of music in 2017, by an impressive margin. It was reported earlier in th...

The Numbers Behind Murda Beatz and CuBeatz, The Producers Who Helped Soundtrack 2017

Murda Beatz

You've probably got "Murda on the beat so it's not nice" stuck in your head, a phrase associated with Drake dropping bars on 2017 track "No Long Talk", or the surprising chart hit "Portland" from More Life, the second most successful hip-hop record of last year. Murda Beatz's reach was much wider than this. In the last 12 months, he's established himself at the forefront of trap production through work with Migos, 2 Chainz and Travis Scott. He was one of the busiest producers of the year, picking up a production credit in 45 major songs, and notching up 3 million U.S. single sales.

Here are the percentage increases in commercial performance from Murda Beatz in 2017:

Murda Beatz became an essential name in rap production in a very short period of time, largely thanks to Migos. His earliest forays into mainstream production came from the trio, and Migos' stunning worldwide success has helped Murda Beatz to diversify his contatct list, adding Travis Scott, Drake, Gucci Mane, and plenty more. When his producer tag "Murder on the beat so it's not nice" was heard before on Drake's viral 2017 track "Portland", it shined a bright light onMurda Beatz's work, and all thanks to a flute!

His music isn't always identifiable or easily pigeon-holed, which can be preferable. Often, he allows the production to slide to the back while the artist paints the canvas with their personality. This was highly effective on Nicki Minaj's "No Frauds" and 2 Chainz's "4am". He's not a one-dimensional producer though, on Travis Scott's "Butterfly" he crafted a beat that could hold its own without any vocals, allowing Travis to skate on the beat as he saw fit, leaving gaps that never hurt the energy or vibe of the track.

His 2017 performance increase was enough to place Murda Beatz in the top 10 hip-hop producers of the year. 2018 is looking even bigger, with huge projects from Travis, Nicki, Drake, and of course, Migos. Will he top 2017? Could he even challenge Metro Boomin for the tag of Best Rap Producer?


Three years ago, CuBeatz were producing almost exclusively for artists outside the U.S., with a focus on German hip-hop. The duo landed in the States with "R.I.C.O." by Meek Mill and Drake in 2015, ironically a track that could have ended the careers of both those rappers via the beef that the song sparked. It wasn't really until 2016 and 2017 that CuBeatz became a commercial force. Thanks to fruitful collaborative relationships with Drake, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott and Migos, CuBeatz became part of the "best producer in rap" conversation. Their work on "Motorsport" and "Portland" put numbers up, but they also contributed multiple album tracks to Birds In The Trap, More Life, Without Warning, Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, and multiple Gucci Mane records. They are also proud owners of two Kanye West credits, through Ye's features on "THat Part" by Schoolboy Q and "Ballin'" by Juicy J.

Here are the figures behind their inspiring two years of mainstream success:

And here is the improvement the duo has experienced from 2015 to the end of 2017:

9 million single sales in the past 2 years, and 81 major production credits suggest CuBeatz have transitioned emphatically from German hip-hop to the U.S. market, in which rap is now the most popular genre. Their work pre-2015 favoured hard-hitting, crisp drums, not dissimilar to the boom-bap explosion in New York in the 90s. Tracks for Loexesh, Kurdo and Animus were certified slappers, but in 2015, through G-Eazy's "Oh Well" and the intro to Joell Ortiz's project, they began to start filtering those drums and the rest of the instrumentals to create a slight feel of being underwater, a hint of the chopped and screwed phenomenon that Drake and 40 helped translate into mainstream success. Artists began coming to CuBeatz for a beat that sounded contemporary and new, but still hit hard and allowed them to spit bars. Nowhere is this more obvious than "No Shopping" by French Montana and Drake, a track that sounds like a standard trap beat until those drums drop harder than anything else on the radio. The beat change on Drake's "Summer Sixteen" also added a gritty edge to Drake's nasally rapping that lent cred and weight to his words.

There are multiple projects on the horizon from artists the duo has previously worked with. Travis Scott is "on a mission to be heard" in 2018, Kanye West is in the mountains crafting his next culture-shifting record, Drake promised he'd be back in 2018 to tell his story, Gucci Mane will doubtless be dropping several projects, and Nicki Minaj's highly anticipated 4th LP is almost certain to drop. CuBeatz might have broken through in 2017, but they might dominate 2018.

By The Numbers: A Breakdown Of Every Grammys "Album Of The Year" Category Since 1986

When the Album Of The Year award gets broadcast on Sunday's edition of The Grammys, two hip-hop albums and two R&B albums will be in line to win. There have been 3 other occasions in which 2 hip-hop albums have been nominated: 2003 (The Eminem Show, Nellyville), 2004 (Speakerboxx/The Love Below, Under Construction), and 2014 (good kid, m.A.A.d. city, The Heist). Only two hip-hop albums have ever won the award: Speakerboxx/The Love Below by Outkast, and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill.

If you're wondering why so many rappers have boycotted and called the award show out in the past, part of the answer is in the figures. 1986 was the year that hip-hop arrived on the mainstream radar, with Licensed To Ill by The Beastie Boys, which is certified Diamond for 10 million copies sold. In 1988, Public Enemy released It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, an album that sold 500,000 copies in its first month on sale, and was given a perfect score by at least 10 major review outlets. Its statistics rival any album released that year, yet it wasn't even nominated.

In fact, the first nomination a hip-hop album received wasn't until 1991, when MC Hammer's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Em was nominated. Also eligible for that year was Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet, a record that has a score of 97/100 when the reviews of major outlets are tallied up. No nomination...

Nominations and Winners By Genre

Rock has dominated the winners list since 1986. Surprisingly, jazz and folk have both out-performed hip-hop, and although R&B also won more often than hip-hop, considering how many nominated it's received, 3 wins is quite low.

Folk has been nominated 3 times, and won 3 (Raising Sand, Babel, Morning Phase). Electronic also holds a 100% nomination-to-win ration, thanks to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories in 2014.

At the other end of the scale, classical had one nomination and no wins, while hip-hop and R&B both sit on 11%; 11% of the time they are nominated, they win.

These figures aren't a perfect display of bias or win ratio, since genres can be nominated multiple times for just one award, and there are a finite amount of genres. For example, in 1990, every nomination was for a rock album, meaning the nomination-to-win ratio was 0.25. It's inaccurate to say rock had a worse year in 1990 than electronic did in 2014 (when it was nominated once, and won once), but the analysis still gives a good indication of the popularity of each genre when it comes to total nominations and total wins.

Nominations Per Year

This graph shows an interesting trend. Rock was dominant all the way until the mid-2000s, and it began to taper off. Since the early 2000s, all 4 major genres have been represented more evenly in nominations.

This change doesn't specifically align with any major changes in measurable consumption of each genre. Hip-hop became the most popular genre in North America in 2017, but in July of 2017, a report was published stating hip-hop had only just overtaken rock as the most consumed genre in the US, meaning right up until 2017, rock was still being consumed more than any other genre.

And hip-hop has been popular, relevant and critically acclaimed since the late 80s. So why exactly has it been nominated less, and why does it win less, than rock and pop?

Statistics of Album of the Year Winners

Any idea that the most popular or successful album of the year isn't a major chance of winning the award is debunked by this graph. The prior award winners have been ultra successful and almost all very well received by critics.

Only 3 Album Of The Year winners (out of 32) are currently certified less than platinum: Herbie Hancock's The River, The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, and Morning Phase by Beck. All of those albums were released post-2000, so it's likely they will achieve platinum status at some point in the future.

13 of the 32 winners have been certified Diamond for 10 million sales in North America. While the sales boost that accompanies winning the award can't be discounted in these statistics, it's unlikely that an Album of the Year victory would lead to 10 million extra sales. And 6 of the 13 Diamond albums were released since 2000, 3 of them this decade, including Adele's 25 in 2017.

With the above statistics, it becomes even more perplexing that more hip-hop albums haven't been nominated, let alone won the award. There are more than 10 hip-hop albums that have sold above 9 million copies in the U.S., and only 4 of those have been nominated, with only 2 winning (Lauryn Hill and Outkast). Missing entirely from the nominations list are Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, DMX, Ja Rule, and 50 Cent. And despite the upturn in rap fortunes since 2007, the award hasn't been won by a rap album since 2004.

There have been notable albums since 2000 that haven't even recieved a nomination, including The Blueprint by Jay-Z (88 on Metacritic), and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (94 on Metacritic). Both these records sold over 1 million copies.

There have been plenty of albums from other genres that have a score above 90 on Metacritic from the last 10 years, but very few of them meet the commercial success requirements that seem to be essential in winning Album of the Year. Artists like Leonard Cohen and Ry Cooder released critically acclaimed albums since 2009, but they didn't sell well at all in North America.

And there have been rap albums nominated in the past that meet both the financial and critical requirements to win the award, yet were overlooked. Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP is certified Diamond and picked up an 86.3 approval rating from critics, yet it lost to Steely Dan's Two Against Nature, a record that is only certified platinum, with a 77 approval rating from critics.

Kanye's The College Dropout lost to Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company. Their sales are similar, yet Kanye has an approval rating 13 points higher than Ray Charles. Kanye has been consistently snubbed. In 2006 he was beaten by U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, which sits 6 points lower on Metacritic with similar sales. Then Kanye somehow lost in 2008, when Graduation was beaten by Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters. Hancock's album sold 100,000 copies, with an approval rating of 73. Kanye's Graduation sold 2 million copies, with an approval rating of 79.

Will Hip-Hop Win In 2018?

Both DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar and 4:44 by Jay-Z meet the sales and critical approval requirements to win the award, but they're up against a hugely successful and popular album in 24K Magic by Bruno Mars. Statistics say Bruno will win the award, and the least likely is Lorde. Very occasionally the Album of the Year award strays from the "Sales and Critical Approval" popularity contest, but the only time it does that, it awards an album that isn't from R&B or hip-hop.

Hip-Hop's Next Generation of Super-Producers: Louis Bell Was The 2nd Most Successful Rap Producer in 2017, and Frank Dukes Isn't Far Behind

With the move away from physical music and towards ultra-consumption via streaming, the importance of song credits is being eroded at the fastest rate in history. They still exist, notably on Tidal, as well as places like Genius and Wikipedia, but the nature of how we listen to music, via playlists and an infinite loop of content, means behind the scenes superstars are being overlooked. Louis Bell and Frank Dukes are genuine musical superstars, and the following stats prove their 2017 was huge, but the possibilities for 2018 and beyond are even bigger.

Louis Bell

2017 was a breakout year for Bell, on the back of his work with Post Malone, DJ Snake, Selena Gomez and Camila Cabello. He achieved the second most single sales for a hip-hop producer in 2017, with only Metro Boomin besting him. When his contribution to rap albums was also taken into account, he was still the second most successful hip-hop producer of the year in terms of sales.

His most prominent production credit is on "rockstar", the blissed-out vibe crafted by Post Malone and 21 Savage, which has spent an unheralded 8 weeks at the top of the Hot 100, and to date has been certified double platinum. He also has a credit in "Congratulations" alongside 2017's most successful producer Metro Boomin, and Frank Dukes. That track is now eligible for 7x platinum certification, and contributed heavily to Post's amazing year, which saw him out-chart every other lead artist or group in hip-hop.

His relationship with Post Malone shot him to prominence in America, but it was work with Camila Cabello, Kygo and Selena Gomez that brought Louis Bell to the rest of the world. His production on "It Ain't Me", "Havana" and "Wolves" earned him 117 top 20 chart placings around the world, and nearly 5 million worldwide sales.

His improvement in 2017 has at time defied belief:

Camila Cabello's album recently dropped, featuring 5 Bell-produced tracks. It landed at number 1 on the Billboard 200, and looks set to have a very solid 2018. Post Malone's next project, Beerbongs & Bentleys, is also due in 2018, and Selena Gomez told Billboard in October of 2017 new music "will be soon", so Louis Bell is set for a massive 12 months. He may yet surpass the standard he set in 2017.

Frank Dukes

Frank Dukes is the most low-key super-producer in music this decade. His credits in the last two years alone include Lorde, Zayn, Frank Ocean, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Bebe Rexha, Drake, Mac Miller, J. Cole, Schoolboy Q, 6LACK, The Weeknd, Common, Usher... It doesn't stop. In the last 2 years he's produced over 50 high-profile songs on some of the most successful records released. His flexibility behind the boards has taken him from "Real Friends" by Kanye West to "Mabida Riddim" by Drake to "Havana" by Camila Cabello, and seen him produce alongside Metro Boomin, J. Cole, Havoc, and even BadBadNotGood.

If Louis Bell is set for a big 2018, then so is Frank Dukes, and vice versa. The two collaborated closesly on the breakout hit of 2017, "rockstar" by Post Malone, and also on "Havana" by Camila Cabello. Together, they dominated 2017, and it was only an insane hot-streak by Metro Boomin that denied the two the title of "Most Successful Hip-Hop Producers of 2017". Frank Dukes' contact list is bulging with talent; with Kanye and Drake expected to drop projects this year. Camila by Camila Cabello is littered with Dukes' influence, 10 of the 11 songs feature him as a producer, and the album has already been performing well.

There is no limit to what Dukes may achieve in 2018. With a contact list as diverse as his, and with a host of close collaborators (Louis Bell, Metro Boomin, Post Malone, Murda Beatz) all experiencing exponential growth in sales and audience at the moment, he may finally make it into the conversation surrounding best producers in the game. The numbers already place him in that category, it's now a waiting game, the world will eventually catch up with Dukes' discography and bestow him the appropriate status.

By The Numbers: Chappelle's Show's Measurable Impact on Music Careers (Feat. Kanye West, Killer Mike, Lil Jon and more)

While the overt and enduring legacy of Chappelle's Show will be the way it uncovered and exposed systemic racism and oppression still faced by black people and other minorities in modern America post-2000, the show's impact on the musical careers of some of hip-hop's brightest stars deserves more than a passing mention. Dave was a fan of hip-hop, and his business partner Corey Smyth told Noisey they initially wanted to acts to perform a b-side, or a track that the artist's label wouldn't support, but that the artist felt strongly about. When this was rejected by Comedy Central, Dave said "let's just book our friends", and thanks to Dave's immersion in the burgeoning alternative rap scene during the late 90s and early 2000s, the show ended up securing some of the most eclectic and essential rap artists from the time. 

Musical guests were featured at the end of each episode of the first two seasons, and considering the healthy ratings these first two seasons enjoyed, and the rapid rate at which the DVDs sold (the second season was the fastest selling TV on DVD of all time, moving 1.2 million units in 7 days), any artist appearing on the show could count on valuable exposure to a large and relevant audience.

To analyse the impact of the show on an artist or group's career, the analysis looks at the 2 albums released prior to an artist or group’s appearance on the show, and the two directly after. 

Album Sales

Lil Jon saw the biggest spike in sales per album after he was featured on the show in February 2004. In Episode 4, Season 2, Chappelle had two skits in which he impersonated the rapper. Lil Jon would appear playing himself in episode 5 during a phone call with Chappelle, who was also playing Lil Jon. The rapper’s fourth album, Crunk Juice, dropped the following November, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard 200, and selling 2,000,000 copies, significantly more than his previous two records.

Chart Position Changes

Busta Rhymes, Common and Lil Jon all experienced a spike of over 20 places in their average Billboard 200 album chart position post-Chappelle’s Show, while Fat Joe, Anthony Hamilton and Talib Kweli all jumped more than 12 places. 

Common, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes were already established artists, all having released 5 or more albums prior to their appearance on the show. This mid-career injection of mainstream popularity could in part be attributed to the show, and Lil Jon credits the show with his rise up the charts, telling MTV in 2004:

“This Dave Chappelle sh-- just really put me on a different level. He basically has thrusted me into pop culture, and not just urban but white society as well.”

Hot 100 Single Charts

Singles released 3 years before an appearance on the show and 3 years after the appearance are
included. This is the change in the average Billboard Hot 100 chart position before and after
the episode airs.

Anthony Hamilton’s February 2004 appearance on the show spawned the highest chart climb of the data set. In the 3 years after his episode aired, his singles were charting nearly 34 places higher on average than before.

Lil Jon’s singles chart performance rose nearly 20 places, and it must be noted that his guest place on “Yeah” by Usher was not included, as Lil Jon wasn’t the primary artist. 

Chappelle’s Impact on Specific Careers

Kanye West

Kanye appeared alongside Common on March 3, 2004, to perform their collaboration “The Food”. The final product was so good, Common included the live recording on his album Be in place of the studio version. Kanye appeared on camera wearing a backpack, bringing the style and look that he debuted on the single cover for “Through The Wire” to mainstream media, and beginning his “backpack rap” era. The term pre-dates Kanye’s success, used as a catch-all for conscious, underground hip-hop, but West’s association with the phrase brought the idea of backpack rap into the collective consciousness of the commercial market. His two previous videos, “Through The Wire” and “Slow Jamz”, featured traditional baggy hip-hop clothing.

Kanye’s appearance coincides with a huge spike in Google searches for “backpack rap” in 2004:

backpack rap.PNG
Prior to the airing of the episode in March 2004, the amount of searches were zero. The spike comes directly after Kanye and Common’s appearance on the show.

 The word “backpack” also experienced a healthy increase in usage in rap lyrics after this appearance. 

backpack rap stats.PNG

The statistics show that this performance helped the previously underground "conscious" rap classification move into
the mainstream. 3 years later, Kanye would defeat 50 Cent in a first-week sales battle concerning their respectic third
solo LPs. 50 Cent's loss signalled the end of the commercial success of gangster rap, ushering in a new era of hip-hop,
where artists like Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi would flourish with more introspective content.

Killer Mike

  • “A.D.I.D.A.S” debuted on the Hot 100 at 60 the week after Mike appeared on the show. He would never have another Hot 100 charting single as a solo artist

  • Monster, Mike’s debut record, was released the week after his appearance. It would peak at number 10 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and 4 on the Hip-Hop/R&B chart. His next highest charting solo record is 2012’s R.A.P. Music, at 82. Mike achieved success with El-P and their collaborative project Run The Jewels, but his commercial peak directly coincides with appearing on Chappelle’s Show

  • “Yeah” jumped from 6th to 4th the week after Ludacris’ episode aired. It peaked at number 1 two weeks later, staying there for a further 12 weeks

  • “Splash Waterfalls” rose 6 places from 23 to 17 the week after Ludacris’ episode aired

  • Chicken-n-Beer gained 3 places on the Billboard 200 the week after Ludacris’ episode, turning out a 4 week streak of chart drops
The Roots

  • Phrenology re-entered the Billboard 200 albums chart at number 96 after their episode aired, after having been outside the chart entirely for 4 months

  • Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neal Brennan linked The Roots with Jimmy Fallon, a relationship that has seen them exposed to a huge mainstream audience as the house band on “Tonight Show”
John Mayer
  • Heavier Things climbed 3 places on the Billboard 200, despite having dropped 6 places the week prior, and been on the charts for 20 consecutive weeks
Mos Def
  • Mos’ appearance in 2003 was the middle of his mainstream peak. His 2004 record The New Danger hit 5 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Gold, and his single “Sex, Love & Money” from 2004 peaked at 16 on the Hot 100. He’d never chart again on the Hot 100 as a solo artist, and he’d never release another Gold selling record
Angela Yee

  • Angela formed The Breakfast Club with DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God, one of the biggest hip-hop radio shows of all time. Her start in radio came about thanks to an appearance at the premier for Chappelle’s Show, where she met Paul Rosenberg and was invited to work for Shady Records. She’d end up presenting a show on Shade45, a stepping stone to a successful and pioneering career.
Artist-Driven Music Festivals
  • Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, aired in 2006, was the first of many popular artist-driven music festivals such as Made In America (Jay-Z) and Camp Flog Naw (Tyler, The Creator).
  • Dave Chappelle's Block Party was also attended by a young J. Cole

This blog has previously uncovered the impact Dave has had on the lyrical content of rap. That article is here.

By The Numbers: Updated - How Often Does Lil Wayne Say The Word "Pussy" in His Entire Career? Did it hurt his sales? Did jail influence his obsession?

Back in July 2017 this blog published its first ever statistical piece.

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

In it, the question of just how often Lil Wayne raps about pussy was finally answered. But it was before I had even learned to use Excel or spreadsheets or graphs, in fact, the original numbers were tallied and added by handed in a notepad document. 

Such a noble statistical pursuit requires a more professional presentation. So, here are his updated figures, which include Dedication 6 and every song he rapped on or released in 2017.

Remember, this is every single Lil Wayne lead song or feature spot in the Genius lyrical database. The end result includes 1009 songs, a staggering 766 explicit pussy mentions, which means Lil Wayne, over the course of his entire career, says the word pussy every 1.32 songs! 

Is there a correlation between pussy mentions and lower sales or worse critical reception?

The original article sought to answer the question "did Lil Wayne's obsession with pussy hurt his career?" The two bottom graphs show the amount of pussy mentions and the critical review score and sales of each project. Lil Wayne's highest selling album is Tha Carter III, and it has the second most pussy mentions of his entire career. The correlation coefficient for this relationship returns 0.465, which actually suggests as pussy mentions go up, so do sales!

The other graph in the above visual tracks critical reception. Again, Tha Carter III, with the second most pussy mentions, scores well, with 84/100. Rebirth has zero (in fact the entire album only has one pussy mention, from Nicki Minaj) and it's Wayne's worst critically received album, a shocking 37/100 on Metacritic. The correlation coefficient is 0.07, indicating little to no linear relationship between how often Wayne says pussy, and how the album is received critically. 

Lil Wayne's Influence on His Guests

Nicki Minaj is a noted pussy mentioner, so it's unsurprising that of all of Lil Wayne's collaborators, she uses the word the most over his entire career. 

Lloyd's contribution actually came in one song, "Dedication To My Ex". It was Mannie Fresh who first uttered the word on a Wayne record, way back in 1998 on the Big Tymers song "Broads". In 1999, Juvenile would rap it on "Back That Azz Up", a track that Wayne hopped on right at the end. It could be said that Wayne learned his pussy-mentioning ways from Cash Money artists in the late 90s and early 2000s. BG, Turk, Juvenile, Birdman and Mannie Fresh all used the word around that time. 

Which Year Was Wayne's "Pussy-Per-Song" Ratio The Highest?

Wayne releases a LOT of music. Here is a graph of the years in which he released the most solo tracks or guest spots. Remember, this is just in Genius' database, there are many more out there, loosies, mixtape tracks, lost guest verses, that aren't transcribed.

Using this data, we can discover which year had the highest proportion of pussy mentions per song.

2013 was a huge year for Wayne's pussy-per-song ratio. 2.15 mentions per track! And some of these songs were merely guest verses or hooks!

This begs the question...

Did Jail Influence Wayne's Use of the Word Pussy?

Lil Wayne was in jail for 8 months, beginning March 2010. His thoughts were catalogued in "Gone Till November", a prison diary released in 2016. Much of that is taken up with day-to-day chores and jobs, and thoughts on prison food. He occasionally mentions women, but nowhere near as often as he does in song. The most pointed line about his lack of sex in jail came on the "Light Up" remix, with a verse spat from jail via phone:

"I went from eating pussy to eating commissary"

Does he mention pussy more after prison than before? 

His pre-prison output includes I Am Not A Human Being, released in 2010. That album included songs meant for his next flagship LP Tha Carter IV, which would be released in 2011.  

There's a clear difference between Wayne's pre and post jail output. His references almost double in regularity after he was released from prison.

Is Wayne's Obsession With Pussy Ending?

Wayne dropped Dedication 6 on Christmas Day, 2017, and it featured just 13 pussy mentions, the second lowest for a Dedication mixtape, and his second lowest (behind ColleGrove) in the post-prison era. 2017 featured just 26 pussy mentions, while 2016 was even less, with 11. It's possible Wayne is emerging from this perma-haze of pussy he's immersed his lyrical content in, but only time will tell. His next project will be part 2 of Dedication 6, which looks to be coming in February. Maybe 2018 will be the year Wayne swears pussy off for good?

By The Numbers: Dave Chappelle Has Had A Lasting Impact On Lyrical Content

When Chappelle's Show first aired in January of 2003, few could have predicted it would prove so influential in so many different ways for the next 14 years. More than simply providing endless punchlines for rappers well into the 2010s, Chappelle actively moved the culture forward, and shined a bright light on the systemic racism that was still entrenched in North America, a deep issue that remains in 2018.

Chappelle's impact on hip-hop culture is no more evident than in the lyrics the show inspired via the oft-quoted classic sketches. Using Genius' lyrical database, Chappelle's direct impact on lyrical content can be measured. Chappelle's Show first aired in January 2003, and season 2 ended in April 2004. By searching the database for some specific terms from the show ("Chappelle", "Fuck yo couch", "I'm rich bitch", "Dylan", "Rick James"), spikes and increases in usage can be found and measured. All of these terms experienced an increase in usage immediately after the show aired.

Odd Future - "Oldie" (Pot head, half-baked, looking like Chappelle)
Delusional Thomas - “Halo” (That Chappelle's Show episode, you know, Paul Mooney was in)
Pusha T - “Don’t Fuck With Me” (Chappelle Show, all of you Neal Brennans)

The use of “Chappelle” rose during the period the show was being aired. It tapered off quickly while Dave took his sabbatical, then steadied when he returned to public life around 2010.

Danny Brown - "Really Doe" (I'm at your house like, 'Why you got your couch on my Chucks?')
2 Chainz - “Living” (N*** fuck yo couch, n*** fuck yo couch)
Kanye West - “On Sight” (Black Timbs all on your couch again)

The popularity of Chappelle’s “Rick James” skit is reflected in the lyrical content of rappers after it aired. There was a large spike in the phrase “Fuck yo couch”, and couch mentions almost doubled between 2003 and 2006, after remaining relatively stable for over 12 years.

Your Old Droog - "DYLAN!"
Joe Budden - “Who Killed Hip-Hop” (But dumbin' down just became the new "DYLAN"!)
Mac Miller - S.D.S. (The best of all time, I'm Dylan Dylan Dylan Dylan Dylan)

During Chappelle’s “Making The Band” skit he parodied the real life Dylan, prompting this upturn in the mention of the name in rap lyrics.

Nelly - "Rick James"
Keyshia Cole - “Rick James”
Future - “Mask Off” (Rick James, thirty-three chains)

The use of “Rick James” was already trending upwards when Charlie Murphy’s “True Hollywood Stories” skit based on the singer’s life aired in February 2004. Since, it’s become a catchphrase for the show, even more popular than “fuck your couch”.

Jeezy - “I’m Rich Bitch”
Lil Wayne - “Magnolia (Freestyle)” (I'm rich, bitch)
Cassidy - “Aim 4 The Head” (Ain't shit changed, like Rick James I'm rich bitch)

Ashy Larry’s (Donnell Rawlings) catchphrase "I'm rich biatch!" originated in the 2003 "Reparations" episode. The use of the term peaked at 0.00075% in 2007.

The legacy of the show is more than these simple cathphrases, and a future article will explore the lasting impact that Chappelle had on the careers of the musicians that featured on his show. Music was very much a part of Chappelle's career in the mid-2000s, and his lasting relevance and the continued popularity of his comedy (highlighted by his recent work with Netflix) reveals something deeper at the core of his published work, a connection with his audience that goes beyond entertainment. Even if Dave does retire from stand-up and the public eye, these statistics will remain as proof of just how influential he is and has been on hip-hop culture, a culture that is currently the most dominant and popular in North America.

By The Numbers: Cardi B Singles Have Out-Performed Every Other Rapper In The Last Six Months

Cardi's meteoric rise continued in 2018 when she equalled The Beatles and Ashanti by seeing her first 3 Hot 100 chart entries sit inside the top 10 simultaneously.

This is merely a landmark that was destined to be thanks to the incredible work she put in during 2017. Over the past 6 months, she has spent more time inside the Hot 100 top 20 and top 10 than any other rapper in the world:

Cardi has spent 42% longer in the Billboard Hot 100 top 20 than her nearest rival Quavo. She's also spent 10 weeks longer inside the top 10 than Post Malone, a certified chart juggernaut.

This performance comes on the back of her solo single "Bodak Yellow", and guest spots with Migos on "Motorsport" and G-Eazy on "No Limit". Her newest track, "Bartier Cardi", landed at number 14 on this week's chart, and it's highly likely it will live within the top 20 for the foreseeable future.

These two charts give a good indication of the longevity of Cardi. The past 6 months she has been competing in a saturated hip-hop singles market, with new offerings from Eminem, Kendrick, 21 Savage, Post Malone, Gucci Mane and Migos. They're all heavy-hitters commercially, especially in 2017, yet Cardi has out-done them all.

And all of this is with no album out! She even competes with other rappers when album chart runs are considered.

Cardi B ran the second half of 2017, and right now she is the hottest feature artist in rap. She's also releasing solo tracks that are out-performing established hitmakers. She laid the foundation in 2017 for an imposing and record-breaking 2018.

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