A new study shows the lyrics used in popular Hip Hop songs should be legible to your average third grader.
SeatSmart published a ten-year analysis of lyric intelligence in popular music. The data for the study was collected by Andrew Powell-Morse. He used 225 songs that spent at least three-weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Pop, Country, Rock and Hip Hop charts. Powell-Morse plugged the lyrics into Readability Score and received an average US reading level, word count and other metrics.
What Powell-Morse found was the overall reading level for hits released in the past decade have declined. In 2005, hit songs were being written at just above a third grade reading level and now, they are slightly below.
Out of the four genres (Country, Rock, Pop, R&B/Hip Hop) included in the research, Hip Hop has the lowest lyric intelligence. The average U.S. reading level for Hip Hop is 2.6.
Eminem’s lyrics are the most advanced of the artists included in the Hip Hop study. Drake, Macklemore, and Nicki Minaj are creating music at a third grade reading level while Kanye West, Chris Brown and Beyonce’s hits are at a second grade level.
Check out the data via infographics below: