As if mainstream media needs one more thing to complain about in regards to hip-hop, a researcher conducted a lyrical intelligence study which concluded that hip-hop listeners in the last few years have been dumbed down from listening to some popular music. But that’s okay, because the results don’t seem to correlate to anything real hip-hop heads didn’t already know; that most hip-hop music now-a-days is trash and not really thought provoking.
Researcher Andrew Powell-Morse used 225 songs that spent at least three-weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Pop, Country, Rock and Hip-Hop charts. Powell-Morse plugged the lyrics into Readability Score and received an average US reading level and word count among other metrics. Of the four genres (Country, Rock, Pop, R&B/Hip Hop) included in the research, Hip-Hop has the lowest lyric intelligence. The average U.S. reading level for Hip Hop is 2.6.
Now, any researcher knows there can be several limitations when conducting a study, and there are plenty in this one. For starters, the data (music) tested is mostly based on grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, etc., not metaphorical or the “deeper meaning”. While this study compares songs within the last decade (back to 2005) to one another, there is no comparison to songs from other decades, which doesn’t show growth of intelligence in lyrics or consumption by listeners. Also, the researcher only used popular songs that spent at least 3 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 100 list, but songs like Kendrick Lamar’s Swimming Pools peaked when Rihanna Diamonds song was #1 on the list.
From reading the results of the study, it seems like there was a hint of humor about the credibility of it. Check it out here and tell us what you think.