My younger brother Kenton and I have been having a conversation about RapGenius (RG) and digital humanities (DH) that has been taking place for a couple of years now. We've started developing an online notebook concentrating on our engagements and interpretations of RG. Right now, we're mostly collecting ideas and building a resource, so eventually we'll extend the work.
At this year's College Language Association (CLA) conference, Kenton did a presentation on Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar, especially the rappers' mentions of the 1980s crack era in select songs. Although Kenton did not bog people down with details about methodology, his presentations was an outgrowth of the work he's being dong related to RapGenius on the one hand and with text mining software on the other hand. In other words, his project was a combination of RG and DH.
Moving forward, I'm hoping that we can plan additional projects that look at large numbers of rappers and what they have been doing with language over extended periods of time. We might also figure out ways of optimizing the educational and skill-building uses of RapGenius.
• Digital Humanities at CLA 2013
• A Notebook on RapGenius