Mike Isaac

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The Buzziest Social Network, According to Hip-Hop

In business and in hip-hop, your reputation is all you have.

And, right now, Twitter’s rep is booming (in the rap world, at least).

This according to RapStats, the latest little experiment to come out of the gang over at RapGenius, a lyrics-deconstruction startup backed by Andreessen Horowitz.

The new tool is clever — something of an Excel spreadsheet graph function for the hip-hop lyrics corpus. Punch in a few terms, and RapStats will spit back a graph comparing the frequency of those words appearing in hip-hop songs from as far back as 1988 and up to the present day.


According to RapStats, Twitter is in the lead at the moment, with the most mentions compared to other social networks — with not Facebook, but Instagram, trailing in second place. Facebook instead comes in at third, with Tumblr, Myspace and the relatively recent Snapchat rounding out fourth, fifth and sixth places.

It’s a cute idea, and perhaps even helpful for linguists or scholars studying the rise of certain words or phrases through the hip-hop lens.

One caveat: While RapStats reports frequency, the new tool doesn’t come with an understanding of sentiment. So keep that in mind when judging Twitter’s true rep.

(Props to Michael S. Galpert for the idea!)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik