It’s been a big week for rap music. On Sunday, the BET awards took front and center in the world of pop culture, celebrating some of the most popular rappers in the world. Rap giants from Kendrick Lamar to Nicki Minaj were celebrated for their contributions to pop music, all amidst an array of headline grabbing performances.
Rap is, of course, not the only music genre honored at the BET awards. In fact the awards celebrate much more than just music. But it is one of the only awards shows that so rigorously celebrates hip-hop, which, as The Los Angeles Times’ Gerrick D. Kennedy argued, is a genre typically sidelined at awards shows despite its undeniable cultural influence.
But there are also those who have called rap's influence into question in the past few days.
While discussing Kendrick Lamar’s controversial performance at the BET awards (in which he performed his song “Alright” atop a vandalized police car), Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera explained that he believes “hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.”
Rivera’s comments caused quite a stir, with some arguing that his comments were insensitive, considering the recent events in Charleston, South Carolina. But one thing such thoughts are not is new. Rivera made similar comments in an interview with The Huffington Post last February, and the genre has seen plenty of related scrutiny over the years.
Rap music has often come under fire for lyrics that some activists say are homophobic, misogynistic or violent. The scandal of rap music, in other words, has been a common staple in media analysis for decades.
But a new analysis by the website Rapalytics shows that, in fact, not all rap music is created equal, and it hasn’t stayed the same, either.
As Vox’s analysis of the Rapalytics data shows, the up-and-coming generation of rappers tend to be less vulgar than their predecessors. Lyrics that promote misogyny and the use of racial slurs, for example, are on the decline.
“Rap has become significantly more mainstream,” Vox’s Phil Edwards wrote on Tuesday. “And mores around certain types of profanity, especially terms that are misogynistic or homophobic, have changed.”
Rapalytics allows users to view a ranking of rappers according to different “profanity types.” To do this, a generator combs through every lyric in an artist's profile, and then finds the percentage of lyrics that classify as “profane.”
Curious who the most misogynistic rapper is? According to Rapalytics, that honor belongs, interestingly, to female rapper Nicki Minaj. How about the most sexually explicit? Apparently, that one goes to Lil Wayne.
But the data also works in reverse. Rapalytics also allows users to see which rappers have the least profane lyrics.
So who’s the cleanest rapper in the game? Check out our slideshow below for the 10 most family-friendly rappers.
JJ Feinauer is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: jjfeinauer.