Creative Capital Mini-Documentary on the Rap Research Lab

by April 6, 2016
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Kanye West’s Lyric Data Sculpture

· by October 18, 2015

Kanye West’s Lyric Data Sculpture.

I Know You See Me,
I Know You See Me,
I Know You See Me,
It’s like I’m 3D!” -@KanyeWest

Mapper's Delight Kanye 3D

Rap Research Lab After-School Program

· by October 18, 2015

We have a few openings for our free after-school program. Applications are here.

RRL 2015 Flyer

Research Lab Design Charrette

· by October 17, 2015

Scenes From Saturday’s Research Lab Design Charrette where 10 educators helped us workshop and modify our curriculum.

This content coding exercise where we searched for 5 recurring themes in the lyrics of @kendricklamar & @nickiminaj is one of the analog data analysis & visualization lessons that will be included in our Teacher Toolkit.

Content Coding

Content Coding

STCR Update: Summer 2015 — Rap Research Lab / Bronx Museum of Art

· by September 16, 2015

Happy End of Summer. Happy Eclipse. Happy First Week of School. Happy Roshashana. Happy Adis Amet.

A lot has happened in the past 10 months. A lot has happened in the past 10 months. A lot has happened in the past 10 months.

I have a few updates below:

Rap Research Lab
I’m happy to announce that we’ve received a grant from HIVE and The New York Community Trust Digital Media Learning Fund to scale & spread our program!

For the remainder of 2015 I will be working with my team to synthesize the Rap Research Lab’s process, tools and curriculum into a toolkit that will reach a greater number of students, teachers and organizations throughout NYC. Visit our project website here.

Over the Summer we held a recruitment workshop at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls where students content coded and visualised the reoccurring themes they found in the lyrics of female rapper’s.

Our second Summer workshop was held at the NYC Parks Department McCarren Park Computer Research Center, where students mapped their research data using carto.db.

Armed with the stats and lived experience to support their arguments, both sessions culminated in great conversations about the influence that Hiphop has on their lives and world culture.


This weekend we are hosting a Design Sprint that will facilitate receiving feedback from educators on our current lesson plans and ultimately helping us develop a more effective curriculum.

If you can think of a organization or educator that would be into what we’re doing here at the Rap Research Lab, connect us. Visit the project website here.

We have a few openings on the standby list for our free after-school program. Applications are here.


Bronx Calling: The Third AIM Biennial
If you haven’t visited yet, my work in the Bronx Museum of Art AIM35 group show will be on the wall until September 20th. It really is a good looking exhibition.

There’s more to come.

Be well, Tahir

Black Studies in the Digital Age at Princeton

· by April 9, 2015

Black Studies in the Digital Age Faculty Graduate Seminar FY 2014-2015 Poster

I had a great time presenting my work and the new project ActualFact to the Faculty-Graduate Seminar at the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. Now in its eighth year, the seminar brings leading thinkers to share work in progress in an intimate setting of graduate students and faculty working across disciplines.

Rap Research Lab x InterIsland Terminal Hawaii

· by February 7, 2015

Scenes From February’s Workshop In Honolulu, Hawaii: Participants conducted research, made data visualisations & reported their findings. After voting, we then made a physical version of charting all of the songs in Tupac’s body of work using thread and map pins. Mad Fun!

Rap Research Lab at TEDYouth 2014

· by November 28, 2014

TEDYouth 2014
I was invited by TED to present the Rap Research Lab to 400 middle & high School students.

TEDYouth is a day-long event for middle and high school students, with live speakers, hands-on activities and great conversations. Scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, artists, performers (and more!) share short talks on what they do best, serving both as a source of knowledge and inspiration for youth around the globe.

New Work! —> Picasso, Baby.

· by October 22, 2014

Picasso, Baby.

Picasso, Baby. is a network graph that visualises the connections between rappers and the modern & contemporary painters they name drop in their rhymes.

Spanning 1979 – 2014 the graph gives a glimpse of the historical relationship that rappers have to the artistic mastery of Pablo Picasso, the perceived archetypal divisiveness of Yoko Ono, the ever present Jay-Z factor and the recent increasing popularity of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using archival inks.

The interactive version of the graph is here

Rap Geeks can submit a correction here

Rap Fans can pre-order the poster here

STCR Update: Autumn 2014 The Rap Research Lab

· by October 19, 2014

This recent Summer I didn’t have time for a much of a vacation because from April to August, I’d been playing the roles of facilities manager, director of technology, principal and teacher.

I recently graduated my first cohort from the Rap Research Lab, a school that I started in the South Bronx focussed on teaching art, design, cultural analysis, media criticism, data mining and data visualization to teens using my project based curriculum that visualizes Hip Hop as a cultural indicator.

Student research projects included: a rapper net worth calculator, a comparison of actual crime rates versus the rate of crime appearing in lyrics, 8 types of definitions found in rap of the “N-word” and the comparison of the sentiment analysis of lyrics from Brooklyn and Compton.

The link to the student research Tumblr with final projects is here.

The assessment of the pilot program is complete and I’m now formalizing what I taught while forming partnerships with organizations that will help make the classroom workflow a more seamless and enriching experience. Next steps are to implement the Rap Research Lab this Spring as a 10 week after school program with an additional instructor in order to begin the process of teacher training. I’m doing all of this with the goal of scaling up and rolling out the curriculum to other institutions.

I’m looking to be connected with people that are receptive to the work I’m doing based at institutions that can provide support.

The student projects were covered on Gawker.

Let me know what you think.