What is the most beloved car brand
in hip-hop?

Hypothesis

My guess was Chevy.

After all:

Plus mentions in:

But it turns out that hip-hop's most beloved car brand is NOT Chevy.

[img of chevy truck crying]

Method

Tools

Gathering the data

I downloaded Wikipedia's lists of car manufacturers and brands by country and decided to limit the set to brands in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. I had to download the lists because Wikipedia blocks web scraping. The number of usable brands came out to 153. I also searched for known nicknames of the brands (e.g. "Bimmer/Beemer/Beamer" for BMW and "Chevy" for Chevrolet, etc.).

Cleaning the data

With the Python BeautifulSoup library, I extracted the brand names from the Wikipedia pages. Then I used NLTK to remove the HTML tags and regular expressions to remove excess whitespace and text (such as notes about the brand, the brand's years of operation, etc.).

Analyzing the data

The Rap Lyrics Database contains lyrics for all of Billboard Music's rap songs from 1989 through 2009. It's the only (as far as I know) searchable database of hip-hop lyrics (exclusively).

I wrote a few Python scripts to search for all 153+ brands in the Rap Lyrics database, saved the resulting pages, and used BeautifulSoup again to count the number of results on each page. I saved the brands with their counts to a file, which I then sorted using LibreOffice Calc. I reformatted the results with Python to create the Google Chart below.

Results

So who won?

Mercedes-Benz. By a landslide!


Car Brand Number of Songs
Mercedes-Benz93
Jeep34
Cadillac25
Chevrolet (Chevy)24
Lexus22
Rolls-Royce22
Bentley20
Tommy Kaira15
ASL15
Welch-Detroit13
BMW (Bimmer, Beemer, Beamer)12
Chalmers-Detroit12
Dodge8
Imperial8
Eagle8
Lincoln7
Jaguar7
Audi6
Nova6
Honda5
Hummer5
Maxwell4
Continental3
Acura3
Nissan3
Lotus3
Aston Martin2
Mazda2
Porsche2
Ford2
Buick2
Lea-Francis1
Maybach1
Saturn1
Cony1
Toyota1
Yamaha1
McLaren1
Plymouth1
Suzuki1
Mitsubishi1
Viking1
Welch1
TGE1
Ewing0
Efini0
Scion0
Westfield0
Y&T0
Tsubakimoto Chain0
Artega0
Meihatsu0
Ishikawajima0
Mikasa0
Autobacs0
Edsel0
Koei0
Gorham0
Ohmiya0
Takeoka0
Datsun0
Cartercar0
BAC0
Keinath0
TVR0
Daihatsu0
Isdera0
Nippon0
NJ0
Apal0
Mansory0
Jetcar0
Showa0
Sheridan0
Pontiac0
Asahi0
Infiniti0
Lotec0
DeSoto0
BS Motor0
Fuji0
Kurugane0
Locost0
Isuzu0
litima0
Mercury0
Marquette0
Suzliight0
Sumida0
Nikken0
Trident0
Vemac0
Publica0
Rainier0
Pegasus0
Chiyoda0
LaSalle0
Idemitsu0
Otomo0
Volkswagen0
Kunisue0
Tachikawa0
Yes!0
Ohta0
Isaka0
Elmore0
Eunos0
Fuso0
CityEl0
Takuri0
Ariel0
AC0
Toyopet0
Jiotto0
UD Trucks0
Mizuno-shiki0
Scripps Booth0
Rintaku0
Wiesmann0
Chrysler0
Triking0
Opel0
GMC0
Yamata0
Melkus0
Xedos0
Vauxhall0
Ales0
Humbee0
Lila0
Sanko0
Ascari0
Gumpert0
Yoshida-shiki0
Yanase0
Tama0
Subaru0
Hino0
JZR0
Lister0
Tsukuba0
Meiwa0
Prodrive0
Suminoe0
Mitaka0
Chalmers0
Oldsmobile0
MK Indy0
Mitsui0
Valiant0
Alpina0
Mitsuoka0
Autozam0

Errors

Semantic orientation

For this experiment, I equated "beloved" to "number of songs mentions." This is obviously not always the case, as rappers name-drop plenty of things they dislike. It's true that rappers generally mention cars in a positive manner, but a more accurate experiment would take into account not just how many times the brand was used, but in what way the brand was used.

Multi-word brands

The Rap Lyrics Database turns up blank if you search for, say "Aston Martin" (with the quotes and the space), even though Aston Martin is mentioned in a few songs. So multi-word brands with spaces in them turned up short. (Mercedes-Benz doesn't have this issue because it has a hyphen, not a space.)

Removing duplicates

Mercedes-Benz often referred to as just "Mercedes" or just "Benz." While I searched for the full name and both nicknames, I ended up using the results for the full name only to minimize the possibility of duplicates (as I found the number of results, but not the actual song titles).

In general, a better analysis would have compared song results against each other to ensure that there are no duplicates in the count.