REDDIT'S FAVORITE RAPPERS
8/16/18

If you’re a fan of hiphop, you’ve probably visited (or at least heard of) Reddit’s hiphopheads subreddit, a forum of everything hiphop related. With a community of over one million members, it’s probably one of the biggest hiphop groups in the world.

However, it’s well known that the r/hiphopheads subreddit has an overall taste which doesn’t perfectly align with the wider hiphop community.

Because of this, I was curious to more thoroughly investigate the taste of the hiphopheads subreddit. To do so, I gathered all 110,851 YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud submissions from the subreddit in the past year (since August 3, 2017). From these submissions, I tallied up the number of times each artist was posted, the total number of upvotes each artist received, and the total number of comments from all posts of the artist. Finally, I visualized the results for all 50 artists which had at least 10 posts and 5,000 post karma below.

Use the buttons below to toggle between different statistics. To determine the exact stat for each artist, hover over their image or search for their name in the table.

# artist Total Upvotes


There’s obviously a lot to break down from this visualization.

First, it’s interesting to see how the artist rankings varied for different Reddit statistics. With upvotes, it’s unsurprising that Brockhampton and Tyler the Creator top the rankings. However, Lil B makes a surprise appearance at rank 6, revealing how strong his internet fanbase continues to be.

With posts, rap veterans Eminem and Gucci Mane understandably come in first, as they have an extensive discography from which songs could be posted.

With comments, the only newcomer is XXXTentaction, whose controversial history and recent passing undoubtedly produced plenty of discussion in post comments.

Lastly, DRAM shoots up to the top when considering upvotes per post, as the majority of tracks from his small discography have been extremely popular on Reddit. This category also features some smaller artists, like Lil Pump and Kali Uchis.

Each of these statistics have their drawbacks when it comes to evaluating artist popularity. However, I’d argue that using upvotes per post as the measurement of popularity is by far the best metric, as it inherently corrects for discography size and the relative popularity of posts. Furthermore, its tendency to favor newer artists could also be framed as an ability to factor in “hype” as an element of popularity, allowing for a more flexible statistic.

The above visualization displays Reddit’s views on a variety of artists, but sheds no light on the difference in opinion between the subreddit and the wider hiphop community. To investigate this, I used Instagram followers as a proxy for mainstream popularity and plotted each artist’s average upvotes per post versus their Instagram followers below.

Hover over any point on the graph for information on each artist. Use the buttons to toggle between a linear or logarithmic scale for the axes.


For this visualization, assuming that upvotes per post is a reasonably good proxy of Reddit popularity, the relationship between Reddit popularity and real-life popularity can be seen. It becomes evident that DRAM is truly the darling of r/hiphopheads, with Tyler the Creator and Brockhampton also having an outsized presence on Reddit compared to the wider landscape. On the flip side, Drake, Eminem, XXXTentaction, and Future seem to be less popular on the subreddit than in real life (although it would be nearly impossible to match massive Drake’s IG following on Reddit regardless).

Results

So, from all of this gathered data, who are Reddit’s favorite rappers and how does their Reddit popularity measure up to their mainstream popularity? Without further ado, r/hiphophead’s top 3 favorite rappers are:

3. Brockhampton (624 upvotes/post)

photo by Ashlan Grey

I was fully expecting Brockhampton to be on this list. They’ve been extremely popular on the subreddit since Saturation I and they continue to be so to this day. They released three quality projects in the span of 6 months, and their hype doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down. While they haven’t yet reached this level of popularity in the mainstream, it’s only a matter of time, especially after their recent signing with RCA.

2. Tyler the Creator (626 upvotes/post)

photo by GQ

Tyler the Creator is another artist that has received almost unanimous praise from the subreddit ever since his 2017 album Flower Boy. The slew of quality throwaway tracks that have since released have only continued to increase his popularity. Tyler is also the most mainstream of all the top three artists with over 5 million Instagram followers. I’m a huge Tyler fan, and I’m glad he made the list.

1. DRAM (1,058 upvotes/post)

photo by Atlantic Records

Lastly, and most unexpectedly (for me), DRAM takes the top spot with an incredible 1,058 average upvotes per post. DRAM was definitely helped by his small discography, having only released one album and a handful of EPs. His posts all seem to do incredibly well on the site, a testament to his skill as a composer of catchy and positive music. However, this is also probably due to the fact that DRAM is a regular contributor to the site and often posts his songs himself. While this undoubtedly skews the results in his favor, his presence alone wouldn’t get him all the way to the top if his music wasn’t also highly rated by the r/hiphopheads community. For that reason, DRAM takes the top spot as r/hiphophead’s favorite artist.



Thanks for reading my blog post! I'd love to hear your thoughts - were you surprised? who did you expect to see? Also, if you're interested in the analysis of music and fashion through the lens of data science, feel free to check out my other posts!


As a footnote, I’d like to expand on how the final dataset was compiled. To gather the Reddit submission data, I used the Pushshift API. Next, I filtered only the submissions that were formatted in the standard format (ARTIST - TRACK, [FRESH] ARTIST - TRACK, etc.). Lastly, I only kept posts that also received over 10 upvotes, as the majority of submissions are never seen by anyone and thus would skew the data. For Instagram data, I manually searched each of the top artists, as their account usernames were often different than their artist name.

Home Page Image Credits: the r/hiphopheads subreddit.