Titled ‘The Best F*cking Article You’ll Read Today: Profanity in Rap Lyrics Since 1985‘, the people over at Best Tickets crunched some serious lyric data on over 29 years of hip-hop’s love affair with swear words, from 7770 ‘fuck’ highs to 27 ‘skeet’ lows, including an honorable mention to “the most profanity-laced rap song in history,” Lil Jon’s “Real Nigga Roll Call,” that they didn’t include in the study for some reason. A refresher, in case you’ve forgotten how cool Lil Jon and Ice Cube are: [LISTEN]
Best Tickets’ reasons are spelled out explicitly, actually: “We examined profanity in popular rap music since 1985. The key word here is ‘popular’. To do this, we selected the five albums from each year that we deemed as the most influential or important. Total sales, artist name recognition, and album hit density all factored into our album choices. Ultimately though, it was our own perceived popularity of each album that determined if it made the cut.”
Which is how they came to the decision that Tupac‘s All Eyez on Me is the top offending album since 1985 as a whole (905 counts), Too $hort‘s Raw, Uncut & X-Rated (49.8) for swears packed into each respective song, the Geto Boys for average career flexin’ per song (46.4) and most curious, the year 2001 as the most offensive year in the history of the genre, which is reportedly Tupac and Ludacris’ fault, not Eminem, as his homophobic landmark, The Marshall Mathers LP dropped in 2000. Likewise, a refresher of Em’s contentious ‘horrorcore‘ on “Criminal:” [LISTEN]
Of course ‘fuck’, ‘bitch’, the big earmuff words society deems ‘swears’ are easy to put in a corner, but ‘skeet’, ‘fag’, etc., semantics get subjective real quick. Not to take away the charm of the data that Best Tickets put together, here, especially by using ‘fuck’ in their title. Though let’s not start throwing profanity superlatives around until we can at least get the Lil Jons and the Rick Ross‘ up in our computer machines, no? Or are y’all satisfied with Tupac’s title for All Eyez on Me?