Folk legend Bob Dylan is one of music’s most celebrated wordsmiths, renowned as “The Bard” and “The Voice Of A Generation” with his poetic lyrics that framed the cultural zeitgeist of the 1960s and ’70s. But it turns out smile-phobic rapper Kanye West actually writes songs with more lyrical diversity than old Bobby D.
A new report by song analysts Musixmatch put music’s 99 top-selling artists under the microscope. They had a gander at each muso’s 100 most “lyrically dense” tracks, and then counted how many different words were used.
As The Independent reports, hip-hop owned the rest of the competition, with Eminem coming out on top with a sizeable 8,818 words used, Jay-Z placing runner-up with 6,899, and Tupac stealing third with 6,596.
Though failing to finish on the podium, Yeezy came in fourth (5,069 words), ahead of Dylan (4,883) in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were a mixed bag of artists, including the Black Eyed Peas, Julio Iglesias, Andre Bocelli, B’z and Celine Dion. Huh?
Taylor Swift slotted in at number 40, while legendary band The Beatles landed all the way down at 76.
While the study appears to show us which artists have the greatest command of the English language, a statement from Musixmatch cautions us to take their findings with a grain of salt.
“This analysis should not be interpreted as saying that one musician is better than the other, it is just another insight into the work of these amazing artists,” it reads.
“It gives us a peek into the minds of different songwriters, some tear your heart with just a few words while others paint an intricate picture with a thousand words.”
It’s also probably relevant to note that one of the reasons that hip-hop likely whooped everyone else’s asses is because spitting rhymes at light-speed and therefore maximising word-count-per-BPM is one of the hallmarks of the genre.
But no amount of words will ever stop Kanye from sucking at Bohemian Rhapsody.
Check out the full results of the study here.
Watch: Kanye West – All Day (Live At The 2015 BRIT Awards)
Watch: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A Changin’ 1964