When the Sugar Hill Gang‘s bouncy, light-hearted, almost saccharine 1979 single Rapper’s Delight, widely regarded as the song that helped popularise rap and hip-hop in the mainstream, was released, few could predict what the art form would turn into. But just how much dirtier is rap today?
The folks at Best Tickets decided to have a go at quantifying just how much profanity is in rap music today compared to its beginnings, what the genre’s most profane albums and songs are, who the most profane artists are, and which cusses and slurs are the most popular among artists.
Best Tickets started by looking at the five most popular rap albums for each year starting 1985 to 2013. The albums were selected according to “sales, artist name recognition, and album hit density,” though the authors admit “perceived popularity” of each LP was a large determining factor.
Readers can check out some of their findings below. Of note is the huge increase in general profanity from 1990 to ’91, most likely due to the popularisation of gangsta rap sparked by the release of N.W.A.‘s seminal 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, and others in the same genre.
Also interesting is that while 2001 stands as rap’s dirtiest year, with releases by Ja Rule, Nas, Jay-Z, Tupac, and Ludacris combining to top the charts in almost every expletive, it was knocked out of the top spot for homophobic lyrics thanks solely to Eminem‘s 2000 The Marshall Mathers LP.
Find out what rap’s dirtiest album is below.
Gallery: Profanity In Hip-Hop Statistical Breakdown