This week Google unveiled Ngrams, “a mammoth database culled from nearly 5.2 million digitized books available to the public for free downloads and online searches, opening a new landscape of possibilities for research and education in the humanities.” Which is the long view writ large.

Here in Brooklyn, Tahir Hemphill is cooking up something much more immediate.


Tahir & I were resident artists at Eyebeam together, where he began constructing Hip-Hop Word Count, a crazily smart rap-lyric-geomapping datacrunch project which lets you do stuff like, say, locate the first mention of ‘champagne’ and watch it migrate across the boroughs and peak across the years. Tahir’s doing a Kickstarter to continue developing the “searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 40,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day.”