For a lot of people, the event that signalled hip-hop’s transition in the public perception from happy-shiny party music to swear-laden, suburban-mom-terrifying gangsta rap would be the debut of N.W.A. But inquiring minds wanted to know – who is actually the most profane rapper of all time?
Because mathematics is way more fun when cursing is involved, a rap lyric analytics site called Rapalytics (‘natch) developed a formula to discern who that would be. According to their calculations, the award goes to none other than N.W.A kingpin and King of the Chronic: Dr. Dre.
It’s pretty undeniable that the calculator itself and its features are pretty impressive. Rapalytics’ oddly educational sounding ‘Profanity Explorer’ measures eight types of expletives: N-word, Sh*t, F*ck, A*s, Sexual, Homophobic, Misogynistic and Miscellaneous. Each rapper’s profanity is then measured as a simple percentage of the total words (number of profane words/total number of words). The results are laid out in a nifty graphical chart that rearranges itself on request to show other stats like which rappers use the most sexual language, or how the old guard compares to younger artists.
Still, a little perusing reveals it’s a pretty flawed system. As I’m sure you’d agree, I can think of quite a few rappers I consider infinitely more profane than Dre – his protoge Eminem being an obvious one. Yet Em sits barely in the middle of the field. Why? Probably a combination of his massive word count and the fact that the N-word (which Eminem never uses except maybe that one time) is considered equally profane as the filthiest of the filthy. The science feels a bit weak – where’s the weighting? Still, the graphic pegs Eminem as using the N-word 69 times — a glitch Rapalytics has owned up to, admitting their formula sometimes can’t separate feature rappers’ lyrics from the main artist’s.
Now don’t get me wrong; anyone who’s heard The Chronic knows Dre has got quite the mouth on him. Still, to gain real cuss-calculation credibility, Rapalytics is going to have to make some tweaks in their upcoming updates. First off — any profanity list that doesn’t include Luke and 2 Live Crew is no profanity list at all. Don’t agree? Well, when selling a Dr. Dre record can get you arrested and charged as a felon, then we can talk.