Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 13, 2011.

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The Hip-Hop Word Count is a searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 40,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day.

Note: Thanks for your support in getting us to our goal! Even though we are fully funded we are still actively seeking funding and appreciate any level of involvement. All additional pledges will be used to cover the costs of adding more functionality to the search tool and shortening the production time of the public launch.

The Hip-Hop Word Count (HHWC) is a searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 40,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day. The database is the heart of an online analysis tool that generates textual and quantified reports on searched phrases, syntax, memes and socio-political ideas.

The idea to build the Hip-Hop Word Count came out of having hundreds of heated & passionate discussions about Rap music: Who was the best rapper of all time? Which rapper had the smartest songs? Which was the most popular champagne in Hip-Hop during 1999-2003? Which rapper uses the most clever metaphors? Which city's rap songs use the most monosyllabic words? Does living in higher altitudes create a natural proclivity for Gangster Rap?

Tired of having these answers left up to conjecture or whoever had the loudest voice, I decided to build a tool that would help give answers by charting the culture described within Hip-Hop music.

How can analyzing lyrics teach us about our culture?

The Hip-Hop Word Count locks in a time and geographic location for every metaphor, simile, cultural reference, phrase, meme and socio-political idea used in the corpus of Hip-Hop.

The Hip-Hop Word Count then converts this data into explorable visualisations which help us to comprehend this vast set of cultural data.

This data can be used to chart the migration of ideas and builds a geography of language and is the engine for a teaching curriculum.

What is the money for? The majority of the money (approximately 45%) will be used to pay the programmers who have been coding the custom PHP to get the website finished and running smoothly. Some of the money (approximately 35%) will be used to pay the consultants who have been helping to design the interfaces. Some of the money (approximately 10%) will go to data acquisition & data clean up. Some of the money (approximately 10%) will go to the hosting bills. 5 months is enough time to get the existing functional prototype out of beta and into a form that is ready for public use.

Seems tough. Can you do it? Yes. Based on our initial proof of concept, tests on our functional prototype and feedback from beta users, what we want to accomplish is completely possible. I am bringing this to Kickstarter now because the completion of this current phase is really close. This last push will help get it done and it couldn't be happening at a more relevant time for the culture.

Long-Term Goals Complete the feedback loop by allowing editors. Socialize the sharing of the research and dataviz. Complete the curriculum design for the pilot program.

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    Get access to the behind-the-scenes updates documenting the project production. This will include blog posts and video clips of work flow as they progress, and more!

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    124 backers

    Get the behind-the-scenes updates and a thank you note mailed to you on a collectible Hip-Hop Word Count Card.

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    100 backers

    Get access to the behind-the-scenes updates and a limited edition laser etched Rap cameo drawing.

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    43 backers

    Get access to the behind-the-scenes updates, a temporary login/password for the Beta search site and a Rap Chocolate.

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    14 backers

    Get access to the behind-the-scenes updates, a temporary login/password for the Beta search site, a limited edition laser etched Rap cameo drawing and a Famous Rap Singer Christmas tree ornament.

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    Receive an invite to the February Friendraiser in New York City, get access to the behind-the-scenes updates, a temporary login/password for the Beta search site, one limited edition, hand signed HHWC Infographics poster.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    Receive an invite to the February Friendraiser in New York City, get access to the behind-the-scenes updates, a temporary login/password for the Beta search site and two limited edition, hand signed HHWC Infographics posters.

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    Receive a lifetime license to the Hip-Hop Word Count, invite to the February Friendraiser in New York City, access to the behind-the-scenes updates, a temporary login/password for the Beta search site, a limited edition hand signed HHWC Infographics poster and a Rap Chocolate.

Funding period

- (61 days)