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Italian website waxes lyrical over Jay-Z

American rapper Jay-Z may have 99 problems but vocabulary sure ain't one of them.

Italian website waxes lyrical over Jay-Z
Talented wordsmith Jay-Z. Photo:Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Live Nation/AFP

Italian website Musixmatch – calling itself “the world's largest lyrics catalogue” – has hailed rappers Eminem and Jay-Z as the craftiest wordsmiths among music's top sellers.

According to the site, the rappers use the most unique words in their tunes, beating out master lyricists like Bob Dylan.   

Researchers Varun Jewalikar and Nash Vail studied the lyrics of 93 chart-topping musicians encompassing 25 different musical genres including hip-hop, hard rock, country and reggae.

The company has access to more than seven million songs in more than 48 languages, so Jewalikar and Vail had a rich musical bank to work from.

Because many of the artists had careers that spanned decades – and the song catalogue to prove it – the two researchers chose the 100 “densest” songs of each artist.

The big winner was Eminem, who used 8,818 unique words in his 100 densest songs, compared to the general average of 2,677.

The Detroit rapper of “Lose Yourself” and “Sing for the Moment” fame also wins for most words used in one song on average — with a staggering 1,018 words.

Behind Eminem was “Empire of State of Mind” writer Jay-Z, using just under 7,000 words in his songs. Late lyrical rapper Tupac Shakur came in third with 6,569 words.

Bob Dylan, with 4,883 words, came in fifth after Kanye West who scored 5,069.

Some top-sellers such as Bruce Springsteen, Chicago and Def Leppard were left out because Musixmatch is not authorised to use their lyrics.

More words doesn't equal more success, though. Artists who sold the most albums, like the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson had some of the lowest scores of unique words.

DRUGS

Italian Eurovision winner tests negative for drugs

Damiano David, the frontman of Italy's Eurovision winners Maneskin, has passed a drug test he took on Monday to clear his name after speculation that he had snorted cocaine at the song contest's grand final.

Italian Eurovision winner tests negative for drugs
Damiano David of Maneskin performs at the Eurovision final. Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

A drug test was “voluntarily undertaken earlier today by the lead singer of the band Måneskin which has returned a negative result seen by the EBU”, the European Broadcasting Union announced on Monday evening. 

“No drug use took place in the Green Room and we consider the matter closed,” the EBU said in a statement, adding that it had checked all available video footage as part of “a thorough review of the facts”.

READ ALSO: Italian Eurovision winners ‘really offended’ by accusations of drug use

David, who was shown on camera leaning over a table backstage in what some speculated could be drug use, had strongly denied the allegations. 

He said the footage showed him sweeping up some glass broken by one of his bandmates.

Måneskin with their trophy after winning the final of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest. Photo: Sander Koning / ANP / AFP

There had been calls for “total transparency” from officials in France, which came a close second in the song contest, after the clip went viral following Saturday’s final in the Netherlands.

The French minister for Europe said that drug use should be grounds for disqualification, though the head of France’s public broadcasting group said they did not plan to challenge the result.

David told interviewers he was “really offended” by the speculation, which he said had marred Italy’s first Eurovision victory in 31 years.

“We are alarmed that inaccurate speculation leading to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and the outcome of the event and unfairly affected the band,” the EBU said, adding that it was looking forward to “a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Italy next year”.

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