Like any good parent, you want to equip your kid with a robust vocabulary. You’ve already got the books and board games and always try to sprinkle in some more complex words when speaking to keep your kids on their toes. Well, there’s another, more fun, tool you might consider using for giving your kid a verbal edge: the wonderful world of hip-hop. In the chart below, Polygraph‘s Matt Daniels ranks your favorite rappers on their linguistic skills, and it illustrates that many of today’s modern day Shakespeares are masters who are more than qualified to introduce your kid to the ins and outs of the English language.
To create the graph, Daniels used the first 35,000 lyrics of 85 rappers and then tracked the number of unique words used by each. For comparison, he also charted the number of unique words used by Shakespeare (5,170) and by Herman Melville in Moby Dick (6,022). Drake famously started from the bottom, and it looks like his unremarkable vocabulary has left him there, as he nearly placed last on the list with a measly 3,522 unique words. Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and Wiz Kalifa similarly found themselves placed in the lower tie. Nas, Outkast, and E-40 all proved themselves to be true wordsmiths.
Coming in first is Aesop Rock, whose vocabulary is so wide-ranging that noted show-off Melville would find it excessive. But if you really want your kid dominating language arts for years to come, your best bet seems to be having them listen to lots of Wu-Tang Clan. As a group, they easily outpaced Shakespeare with 5,895 unique words, and 3 of the 5 members listed nearly matched with Moby Dick. So, despite what has been previously claimed, it looks like Wu-Tang Clan is, in fact, something to f–k with when it comes to improving your vocabulary. And even if your kid is a little young to be exposed to the wisdom of Wu-Tang, the chart is still worth a look for even the most casual hip hop fan. After all, your love of hip hop is part of what makes you such a great parent.