A corpus Based Analysis into the Lyrics of Male American Rap Music icon

A corpus Based Analysis into the Lyrics of Male American Rap Music


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A Corpus Based Analysis into the Lyrics of Male American Rap Music


(BA Honours dissertation)



By Christopher Michael Wade

Acknowledgements


I would like to thank to Paul Baker for taking time to supervise this project.


I would also like to thank my parents for their help in binding this dissertation and my friends for reading draft copies of this work.

Abstract


This is a study of the lyrics of American Hip-hop music. A number of keywords have been selected and analysed in detail with relation to the implementation of a Hip-hop antilanguage, and the construction of a Hip-hop antisociety. The collected data formed a small corpus of that was compared with the FROWN corpus. Using the WordSmith Tools (Scott 1999) software package, terms that were statistically significant in ARC were identified and then five keywords were selected for detailed analysis. My study reveals how Hip-hop artists apply alternative meanings to particular lexical items that are used in contemporary society, and how the content of their lyrics reflects an attitude of a somewhat homophobic and sexist antisociety.

^ Table of Contents


Introduction………………………………………………………… Chapter 1


Literature Review………………………………………………… Chapter 2


Methodology……………………………………………………… Chapter 3

Method of Analysis 3.1

Data Collection 3.2

Ethics 3.3


Analysis………………………………………………………….. Chapter 4


Results…………………………………………………………… Chapter 5

5.2 - Expletive section

5.2.1 – Expletive keyword Fuck

5.2.2 – Expletive keyword Shit

5.3 - Men section

5.3.1 – Men keyword Man

5.4 - Sex section

5.4.1 – Sex keyword Love

5.5 - Women section

5.5.1 – Women keyword Bitch


Discussion………………………………………………………… Chapter 6


Bibliography……………………………………………………… Chapter 7


Appendix…………………………………………………………… Chapter 8


List of Tables and Files




^ Table / File Number

Contents

Page Number




3.1

Contents of ARC – Track Name, Artist Name, Word Count







5.1

Top 40 Keywords







5.2a

Expletives Word List







5.3a

Male Word List







5.4a

Sex Word List







5.5a

Female Word List










^ List of Appendices



File Number

Content

Comments

1.1

Example page taken from www.rapdict.org

Examples from this page can be found in the Literature Review

1.2

Nominations renew lyrics' controversy – Article

This article is simply referred to

3.11

Black Eyed Peas – Where is the love?

Example of Lyrics and editing




3.12

Fabolous – Sweet Dreams

Example of Lyrics and editing




3.13

Jay-Z – Big Pimpin’

Example of Lyrics and editing




3.14

Wu-Tang Clan – Hollow Bones

Example of Lyrics and editing




3.15

Notorious B.I.G. featuring 112 – Sky’s the limit

Example of Lyrics and editing




3.16

Murphy Lee featuring Jermaine Dupri – Wat Da Hook Gon Be

Example of Lyrics and editing




5.2b

Fuck Dispersion Diagram




Referred to in Results section

5.2c

Shit Dispersion Diagram




Referred to in Results section

5.3b

Man Dispersion Diagram




Referred to in Results section

5.4b

Love Dispersion Diagram




Referred to in Results section

5.5b

Bitch Dispersion Diagram




Referred to in Results section

Chapter 1.

Introduction


The topic of my research is that of music lyrics, in particular the genre of rap. I plan to create a corpus of rap lyrics from male American artists and then compare the words used in the lyrics with an American English corpus. In particular I will be looking at terms that give reference to the four topics of women, men, sexual activity and also expletives.


We made use of an internet website that included a typed copy of the majority of rap lyrics, and selected 69 tracks by male American artists. The combination of each of these 69 tracks constitute the corpus that I will refer to as ARC (American Rap Corpus). Using the software package WordSmith Tools (Scott, 1999), ARC was then compared with the larger American English corpus FROWN. Five keywords were then selected and analysed in their given contexts, to understand if the words had a set semantic meaning or if different artists referred to an alternative meaning for the words.


The remainder of this dissertation will describe the decisions that were made with regards to collecting and editing the data for the ARC corpus. Moving on to the actual keywords, I will justify my reasons for such a selection and then following this I will introduce the results of our analysis. Finally I will discuss our findings and make suggestions for further research into the area.




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