Thursday, June 13, 2013

First Draft of Hip Hop Evaluation System (HHES)

So after a conversation on Facebook about who the GOAT was in hip hop, I came to the conclusion that I didn't have a conclusion.  There's so much music in hip hop history that it's difficult to pin down that one artist is better than the others.  And as the scientific type, I'm not one to just throw out a wrong answer.  So I said I was going to come up with a better system for evaluating MCs and hip hop artists to determine, eventually, who the real GOAT is. 

I'm throwing this out for discussion and I'll adjust the system before I start actually evaluating artists, but here's what I came up with.  I've got 10 categories, where each artist can be rated on a scale of 1-10 in terms of how good an artist is, giving them a score of 10-100.  These can be done for an individual song, for an album, or for a career.  In terms of a career, however, quantity should also be a factor, so I would add a category for that as well (also on a 1-10 scale), but that factor isn't strictly about just the number of songs, but the number of good songs, so for the quantity, I'll award 1 point for every 10 songs that get a rating of above 70 on the scale listed below.  Thus if you put out 10 albums with 10 quality songs, you'd have a perfect score on the quantity scale for your career.

Anyways, the categories and what they mean:

  • Flow: Does it sound good when they spit?
  • Lyrics: Are the words they spit creative?  Original?  Do they make sense (or purposefully avoid making sense)?
  • Message: Are they really serious?  Are they funny?  What's the point of the song?
  • Technical: Is what they are rapping easy to do or hard to do?  Is the rest of the song good enough that an easy flow doesn't detract from it?
  • Production: The tracks they rap over, whether they made them or someone else did, are they good, original and add to the vocals?
  • Versatility: Do they do the same thing over and over again or do they try to do something new?
  • Collaborators: Do they choose good people to work with?  Do they do it all themselves?
  • History: Do they show an awareness of hip hop history?  Do they show an awareness of broader history?
  • References: A variety of references to politics, music, sports, etc.  Are the references clever, different, appropriate?
  • Originality: Does their stuff sound just like somebody else or do they do something new?
One of the goals with this system was to allow for people who have different styles and approaches.  Humor, for instance, is common in hip hop, but not every MC is a jokester, so I put funny and serious in the same category so that two MCs with different approaches could be compared on what they were actually trying to do and not just on an arbitrary division of categories.

All right, what do you think?  Does this look good or should it be revised?

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