After the persistent media coverage about rap lyrics being used as evidence in trials, I decided that it would be beneficial to map crimes mentioned in rap lyrics against crime rates across the country. The study would provide insight into whether there was any correlation between lyrics that involved crime and the crimes themselves. Many people have associated rap lyrics with rising crime rates, suggesting that the genre is violent in nature. However, during my research, I stumbled upon an article on The Wire that described the opposite. The article describes that as hip hop became more popular, crime decreased. I centered my project around investigating this trend and its legitimacy. My project focused on crimes individually, which means I compared robberies as well as violent crimes, drugs and gun possession.
I collected data using Tahir Hemphill’s database The Hiphop Word Count, which ran through lyrics for a set of provided crimes and crime related words. Using the outputted list, I found the number of crimes mentioned for each year. I used the timeframe from 1989 – 2009. I then found a database online which contained most of the information I needed concerning crime rates. Once I had all of my data, I put it into a spreadsheet.