Book Versions:

Words to Live By takes fairly well-known quotes from poets and writers and mashes them with lines from current-day rappers. Below are some excerpts:

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Process & Code

Python Program – pulls lyrics from given artists from and saves .txt file using Unirest.

Processing Code – reads from .txt files produced above and sews together quotes + names.

Conceptually my aim was to work on blending two different vernaculars into one text to create an odd and unexpected twist on phrases, sayings, and lines many people recognize. To start I sifted through the various song lyrics API’s available to me. I ended up using the “LyricsNMusic” API from It allowed search inputs to range from artist and song name to keywords and lyric excerpts. The biggest issue I ran into with this project was simply working with java; I knew most of the manipulation I would be doing would be in rita.js but attempting to download every installer, package and library and required to even begin using this API (and then over-Google every error message I received) became very taxing on both me and my laptop. So I opted for Python.

I first ran my Python program, which produced lyric .txt files of whatever artist name is put in, on an array of about 37 rappers I could come up with. Then in Processing I iterated through those documents as well as another “50 Famous Quotes from Poets” .txt file and sewed different lines together through a common word like “in”, “and”, or “woman”. The output wasn’t as seamless and consistent as I originally intended but it worked surprisingly similar to a more efficient maneuver I would’ve used in rita.js. All in all, sometimes the less than desirable method still gets you a result you are aiming for.

Here’s a video of the professor, flipping through my book:

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