in 40 of

Where do our interests in the lyrics of Jay-Z converge and diverge? A group of us (Kenton Rambsy, Sanaa Harris-Layne, and Jalen White) identified 40 of his verses among a much larger dataset of his lyrics.

Howard Rambsy II

The four of us selected 10 verses each.

Only one of the recording types was a freestyle. The rest were produced as part of studio albums.

The 40 verses we selected appear on 17 different albums and reflect the full range of Jay-Z’s career from 1996 to 2022.

We arranged Jay-Z’s career into three periods – Early phase (1996 – 2003), Middle phase (2004 – 2011), and Late phase (2012 – 2022). Our selections are primarily from his early phase.

What about word count? Most of the verses we selected were below 300 words. Some of the verses were between 300 and 500 words, and two verses were above 700 words.

We most often selected the first verse from Jay-Z’s songs.