The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop

Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever.

I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.

Matt Daniels set out to figure out who had the biggest vocabulary in hip hop. What’s amazing is not only who tops the chart but what big names are at the bottom. And while some may not be surprised with Aesop Rock’s #1 position or that DMX brings up the rear, Daniels’ analyses on Wu is worth the read and data alone.

Here’s what I recommend, kids… 

1. Deftones - White Pony

2. Cradle Of Filth - Dusk & Her Embrace

3. Eyedea & Abilities - First Born

4. Portishead - Portishead

5. Fugazi - 13 Songs

6. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus

7. Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein

8. The Prodigy - The Fat Of The Land

9. Slipknot - Iowa

10. Nirvana - Nevermind

11. Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass



Aesop Rock & A$AP Rocky met for the first time at Rock the Bells. Brother Ali was also there to witness this historic hip-hop moment. Everyone was clearly geeking out a little.