Man puts record on spindle
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Hip Hop Word Count analyses the culture behind music

Warning: this video contains offensive language.

Have you ever wondered who coined the phrase "bling-bling" and how it then became a popular part of hip hop's lexicon? And how about the phrase "ghetto fabulous"? When did that first appear?

Tahir Hemphill, a fellow at Harvard University's WEB Du Bois Institute, says his brainchild, The Hip Hop Word Count, can give you those answers and much more.

This online tool is a searchable database of over 40,000 hip hop songs from 1979 to present day and can illustrate, in technical detail, the who, what, and where of hip hop.

The BBC spent the day with Hemphill in his Harvard lab to learn what The Hip Hop Word Count's maps and charts can teach us about the culture within the lyrics.

Produced and shot by Leigh Paterson.

  • 16 Jul 2013
Go to next video: Royal approval