A recent study shows that some of your favorite artists are doling out lyrics that aren’t even on a third-grade reading level. According to SeatSmart, the reading level required to understand music coming from today’s Billboard hit-makers has declined since 2005. Andrew Powell-Morse, who conducted the study, used 225 songs that spent at least three weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's pop, country, rock and hip-hop charts and discovered that hip-hop had the lowest intelligence when it comes to lyrics.
In the world of hip-hop, it seems as though Eminem has the most advanced lyrics—and even then, they’re at a fourth-grade level, whereas Kanye West’s are below a third-grade reading level. In the world of R&B music, Beyoncé’s and Chris Brown’s lyrics are at the same level as West’s. I guess that the one person who’d be upset with this would probably be West, who seems to take great pride in his lyrics.
What would be interesting is to see how the reading level has changed over the last decade by looking at rappers and singers who were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Today’s music has definitely changed, and so has the lyric content.