Rap may be characterized by its beats, hooks, and lyrics, but it’s just as known for its ostentatious names. Pharoahe Monch. The Last Emperor. Lord Finesse. Sir Mix-a-Lot. They’re all rappers, sure, but they’re also self-appointed royalty–for whom no one questions the bloodline.
The Magnificent Map of Rap Names is the latest creation from Pop Chart Lab. It’s a taxonomic web of 636 rappers, and a hilarious deconstruction of hip-hop artist nomenclature.
You have the professors (Professor X, Professor Griff, Professor King Bean and Large Professor), the dictators (J. Stalin, Napoleon, Tragedy Kadafi, and Hilta) and the double Zs (Redzz, Azz Izz, and Bad Azz). You realize the historical significance of artists like Big Boi and Biggie Smalls, who haven’t just won Grammys and altered the genre in their own right, but served as a critical junction between the “Big” and the “Boys” and “Small,” respectively.
To assemble such massive graphics, Pop Chart Labs starts with spread sheets and discovers associations by hand (we’ve seen their methodology before charting cocktails and Apple products). The resulting graphic is a totally overwhelming, pseudo-logical masterpiece. It’s a thesis to an underlying science to rap names that could never have been unraveled without someone unraveling it all on paper.