Who’s your favorite rapper? How often do they say something that makes you press pause and hit up a dictionary? In 2014, scientist and New Yorker Matt Daniels concocted a study tabulating the amount of “unique words” used by rappers. Daniels incorporated a who’s who of artists in the list, from contemporary stars like Lil Uzi Vert and Kendrick Lamar to classic acts like Das EFX and Gang Starr. The results were compelling but not very surprising.

Respected lyricists like Aesop Rock, MF Doom and GZA were near the top of the list. The study was an insight into diction that likely left rap fans fascinated years later. Few of rap's most respected pens have graduated college, but rappers like Nas used their penmanship to find their way into universities anyway. Some have even found their work being studied in college courses. There's a lot to be learned from rap's best lyricists, from social theory to what the hell a certain word means. That's why XXL is highlighting the many times rappers use words that make their listeners run to the dictionary.

This list contains scientific terms, historical terms and even an obscure color reference. It’s not a comprehensive list. It’s more random than anything, as readers could probably think of 20 more “$5 dollar words” that they’ve heard uttered in rap songs. There will likely be some readers who go through the list and realize that they already know most or all of the words. Congratulations.

It’s also worth noting that the term “big words” is a fallacy. A word doesn’t have to contain a lot of letters or be multi-syllabic to be impressive. In fact, there are four two-syllable-words on the list from some deeply intelligent, top-tier lyricists. You can check out the full list of 20 Words Rappers Used That Made You Run to the Dictionary below.

See 20 Words Rappers Used That Made You Run to the Dictionary

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