On Friday, a UC Berkeley cross-departmental team announced a historic achievement in the field of spoken-word poetry: Using a complicated algorithm, it was able to decode the entirety of a rap album in a matter of three days.
Hans Leaf, professor of the campus linguistics department, headed the team of accomplished scholars.
“I’m really proud of everyone on this team. We brought together brilliant minds from many departments to solve a common problem everyone has: Figuring out what the hell rappers these days are saying! Back in the 90s, and even the early 2000s, if a rapper wanted to talk about making money or consummating with their special someone, he made songs titled ‘Straight to the Bank’ or ‘Body on Me.’ Our job was a lot easier then. But it’s anyone’s best guess as to what the hell the song ‘679’ is about!”
With this problem in mind, Leaf reached out to others who could help him solve what some have called the seminal problem of our generation. One of those members was Becky Tau of the sociology department. Tau spoke about the process of decoding.
“After spending several hours close-reading, we decided there had to be a quicker way of analyzing rap music. I mean, the rhyming structure varies so much — hell, sometimes it appears as if the artist didn’t care whether things rhymed at all. Needless to say, it’s a lot to look at for anyone, even if we control for the fat beats in the background!”
Eventually, the group figured out a working algorithm that could decode any rap lyric thrown at it. Leaf said the group first applied it to Kendrick Lamar’s album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
“We tried it on Kendrick’s new album, but it took several months for the computer to decode it. I guess it was too dope for the algorithm. Eventually, though, we were able to see what all the fire Kendrick was spitting on the track actually meant. But it just took way too long.”
So naturally, the team went to the one man who could solve its problem: Steven Turring of the computer science department. Turring, renowned for being the first man to connect the moniker Machiavelli to the artist Tupac, was excited to join the team.
“I was thrilled to help the team. After a few months of work, I had simplified the code and it looked like all we had to do was find an album to test it on. So we decided to try it on Fetty Wap’s debut album. And it was a smashing success; in three days, it was entirely decoded. Amazing!”
Other experts in the field congratulated the team for its hard work and perseverance. Bill Hatton, a professor at Stanford, had this to say: “One of the biggest challenges the Berkeley team had to face was figuring out what to transcribe for Wap’s new album. What it lacks in lyrical complexity, it makes up for in just not sounding like coherent speech at all. So I am really impressed they decoded everything in three days.”
The team will publish the decoded meaning of the new album shortly and have already set its next challenge: The decoding of the Republican primary debates. We at the Clog would like to offer our congratulations.
Although this story is undoubtedly fictitious, there is a core truth that slaps you like the thump from a bass.