It's been pretty cool to see hip-hop come under the umbrella of art that is seriously studied in America's most prestigious universities. Nas gets a scholarship in his name, ?uestlove teaches classes at NYU, GZA helps kids learn about science through rap. Not to mention countless classes at major intitutions studying the words of Tupac and Biggie. Who would've guessed that the art born of the streets would progress far enough to be something people with lots of letters behind their name study for a living?
Here's another step: Havard University archiver Tahir Hemphill is a big rap fan, and wanted to figure out a way to catalogue and study trends in rap lyrics. He created a searchable database, Hip Hop Word Count, to accomplish this task. Its database has over 40,000 rap lyrics, each of them geotagged and searchable through the words they use. Using this info, he can search for how trends in rap lyrics came about, from namedropping champagne brands to saying "bitch." It's pretty cool stuff. Maybe he could use it to research more recent trends, like popping molly or smoking "loud", or rappers referring to themselves as pretty.
The database can also rank rappers based on the complexity of their rhymes. Apparently, Rakim is the wisest MC of them all, with a complexity score of 16 out of 20. That's apparently comparable to the diction used in The Atlantic Monthly! I also find it ironic that he raps at the level of a "university degree" but did not attend college. Hell, I'm barely in college and I think I can understand most of "Microphone Fiend." I guess I should be thankful.
Tracklist: 1.Dutches (prod. Loop Holes) 2.Fever Freestyle (prod. Loop Holes) 3.Float On ft. Inkorrect (prod. Soulkit) 4.From the Soul (prod. Loop Holes) 5.How I Feel (prod. Loop Holes) 6.Bully Raps ft. Hassaan Mackey (prod. Hassaan Mackey) 7.Drunken Bars 8.Love Letters to Anonymous pt. 1 (prod. Jusoul) 9.Trapped (prod. Concept) 10.Resentment (prod. Jayyeah) 11.Don’t Come Around Here (prod. T.O.) 12.Smooth Damage ft. Portrey Youth (prod. Space Gang) 13.Let Me Do What I Wanna Do To Ya (prod. Jusoul) 14.Discontent 15.Warfare ft. Vorheez (self produced) 16.Stop, Drop, Rock & Roll ft. Tugboat (prod. Myke Forte) 17.Still Underground ft. Tugboat (prod. Mr.Green) 18.Trouble’s Web (prod. Loop Holes) 19.What’s Love (prod. J Dilla) 20.The Odyssey (prod. Mondee)
Testing the bounds of science and physics, Baumgartner decided to aim for the world's highest freefall by jumping out of a pod some 128,100 feet up in the air and in the process, oh you know, broke the sound barrier and another world record of highest manned balloon flight (a 2.5 hour trip to get up that high... hope he brought an iPod).
Baumgartner's max speed was 833 mph before the atmosphere brought the speed down (don't you hate it when the atmosphere does that?). He fell freely for 4 minutes and 20 seconds, which I can't possibly fathom since I'm afraid of heights and can barely stand a freefall down a water slide.
Shouts to Baumgartner for pushing the boundary and coming out alive, and to Red Bull for putting this amazing event on and the video above. In fact, this only would have been cooler if Baumgartner shouted, "Red Bull! It gives you wiiiiiiiiings!" as he jumped out of the pod.
Finally, be sure to check out the raw video of the whole freefall below. Also note his horizontal spinning, which if he wasn't able to sustain control afterward, could have possibly killed him. This will forever remain crazy to me.