Ever wondered which popular musician is the most potty-mouthed. Let's find out with an analysis of their lyrics from Musixmatch.
Eight popular genres were chosen for simplifying the analysis. For each genre, the most googled artists were selected and the lyrics of their studio-albums were considered for analysis. This leads to the following dataset.
An average of 0.66% of all words in lyrics of these artists are swear words. 1 in every 152 words is a swear word. This is higher than the percentage of profanities in everyday speech (which is around 0.5%)1.
This percentage is higher than the frequency of swear words in lyrics in general, as observed in our previous study. This is because of the higher concentration of hiphop artists in this dataset as compared to the other one.
The usage of profanity in lyrics can be studied by total count and by frequency of swear words. Hip-Hop artists dominate both of these categories (d'oh). Overall, the most used swear words are nigga/s/z, shit, fuck and bitch.
Amongst the 361 artists studied, Lil Wayne has the highest count of swear words in his lyrics. He is followed closely by Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and T.I. This analysis is skewed by artists who have released more albums but the next metric tries to counter this.
Chief Keef uses swear words most frequently amongst the 361 artists studied. There is 1 profanity for every 20 words in his lyrics. He is followed by Dr. Dre, N.W.A. (Dr. Dre is a member), ASAP Rocky and Young Thug.
Heavy Metal is the second most profane genre. Korn, Slipknot and Children of Bodom use profanity most frequently.
Despite being mostly instrumental Electronic artists seem to pack a lot of swear words in their music. Diplo leads the rankings here followed by DeadMau5 and Hardwell. (There was an error earlier where Ryuichi Sakamoto was #2 in this list but it has been fixed now.)
There is a marked decrease in the profanity frequency of the rest of the genres as compared to Hip-Hop, Heavy Metal and Electronic. Amongst the rock artists, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers use profanity most frequently. The most used swear words are different for both.
Pop lyrics are known for their wide appeal and use very few swear words. Amongst the most searched pop artists, Charli XCX uses most profanity followed by Tove Lo and Mark Ronson.
The Neighbourhood is band using most profanity amongst the Indie rockers. They are followed by Modest Mouse and Kings of Leon. The most commonly used swear word is shit followed by fuck.
There is a marked decrease in the usage of profanity in Folk and Country as compared to the above genres. Loudon Wainwright III and Joni Mitchell use swear words most frequently.
Country is the least profane genre amongst the 8 popular genres studied. Justin Moore uses swear words most frequently followed by Eric Church and Miranda Lambert. The most commonly used swear words are ass, coon, shit and bitch.
As expected, Hip-hop artists are the most profane amongst popular artists. Lil Wayne has the highest count of swear words in his lyrics while Chief Keef uses swear words most frequently. Heavy metal follows Hip-Hop but the frequency of swear words is quite less compared to Hip-Hop. Korn and Slipknot are the most profane Heavy metal bands. Folk and Country artists use the least profanity.
Some themes and moments in songs call for usage of swear words but it is difficult to distinguish these from the cases where swear words are used just for the sake of it. This is an attempt to study profanity from a statistical point of view and another way to look at the works of our favourite artists.
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