Rappers On the Caliber Wars: 9mm Rules


I was browsing somethingawful.com the other day and came across a thread talking about a site called “Rap Stats.” The site catalogs the lyrics of rap songs down through the ages, and lets you do awesome stats-based analysis like comparing the relative popularity of different words over time. Naturally, the first thing I did was throw three calibers into their search engine and wait patiently for the results . . .

It looks to me that 9mm is the most popular caliber according to rap lyrics, but something interesting happened in the early 1990’s. For a few short years, .380 surged and was actually more popular than .45 ACP for a while. In fact, throughout most of the last 20 years 9mm and .380 popularity seems to be tied to one another — when 9mm becomes more popular, .380 is right there behind it.

But that all stopped in 2010 when .380 tailed off despite while the popularity of 9mm took off. And yet, .45 ACP seems to be holding steady.

My conclusion: rappers prefer capacity over “stopping power” — 9mm rules.


  1. avatar v v ind says:

    Its easier to say quickly and it rhymes with more also.

    1. In rap “songs”…anything can be pronounced so that it rhymes.

    2. avatar Mike says:

      “nine” and “more” don’t sound anything alike.

  2. avatar Jomo says:

    You should do a search on ‘chopper’. That would tell us how many prefer 7.62×39.

    1. avatar Dryw says:

      Little good ever comes from a statement which begins with: “I was browsing somethingawful.com…”

      Even less so from: “Do a search on somethingawful.com for…”

      Jus’ saying.

  3. avatar Fuque says:

    I prefer my 9 over the .380.. Im just better wit it… wait..did I just say wit?

  4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Why is the fo’ty not included in the study?

    1. avatar Abad says:

      Because “forty” in rap parlance refers to a 40 ounce can of malt liquor, not a .40 caliber pistol. As in a “forty and a nine”…

      1. avatar PeterK says:

        Yeah like twin glock fo’ties! Wait…

        1. avatar Abad says:

          I guess I missed that particular rap…

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Good point… was wondering that myself since ‘forty’ rhymes well.

        1. avatar Defensor fortisimo says:

          Shorty wit a fo’ty has a nice ring to it.

    2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      40 is the caliber for the po-lease

  5. avatar surlycmd says:

    I think my IQ dropped while reading this article.

  6. avatar LongBeach says:

    I gave up on hibbidy-hop when I heard a lyric about loading a .357’s clip, since I don’t think hibbidy-hop stars buy Coonan pistols.

    1. avatar James R says:

      Clearly they are referring to their speed loader which could actually be considered a type of clip. So ha 😛

    2. avatar Paranoid Android says:

      Moon clip?

    3. avatar bob says:

      .357 or Trey Fiddy Seven?

    4. avatar v v ind says:

      It was .357 sig no doubt.

    5. avatar brian says:

      Could be the DE in .357

  7. avatar Phil COV says:


  8. avatar James R says:

    I would say a 1911 has much greater “bling” factor than a G19 though…

  9. avatar Adam says:

    I recall .22 (duece duece) being a big player during my short-lived rap phase about 25 years ago.

  10. avatar Siks says:

    TEC-9s were only available in 9mm, and nothing ‘flows’ with hi-point……yo

  11. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    Rappers rapping about the .380? LMAO

    1. Shady with the .380 old school diploma, I’ll leave that ass in a coma

      1. avatar DisThunder says:

        Dress up like ladies and burn em with dirty 380s when the come to kill our babies. That’s all out, I got gats that blow the wall out, kill them all out, f**k the fallout.
        Biggie was maybe not quite as good a rapper as 2pac, but you can’t argue those are some solid tactics.

  12. avatar KingSarc48265 says:

    These rappers must not be up on their firearms history. Everybody knows that General Keith ended the caliber wars in 1934 with the .357 magnum. 😛

  13. avatar Greg says:

    Dey steady forgot “Deuce-Deuce”

  14. avatar Mike says:

    They also prefer FMJ to JHP……because cheap and available to low life street thugs, doesn’t say much for their ballistic sensibility.

  15. avatar N8thecowboy says:

    I thought rappers only rapped about Glocks and 9mms. This article has been very informative for me.

  16. avatar Logez says:

    I approve of this article.

  17. avatar 505markf says:

    Yet more shoddy statistical analysis. Clearly the research shows that the impact of the 9mm on popular music is to cause rap lyrics to be more violent. The .45 and .380 less so. And because rap lyrics are frequently demeaning to women, the 9mm can be concluded to also be against women, thus is a cornerstone in the right wing war on women.

    Ergo, the 9mm should be banned so that no woman is ever hurt by a domestic abuser again. A useful corollary being that the never-ending caliber wars can be brought to an abrupt halt.

    1. avatar Misnomer says:

      No no… You need to ban the scariest looking or sounding, but least used caliber like .50 BMG. That will cut all gun violence by 100%! Going after the most-used caliber will just alert everyone to your end-game too early.

      Chip-away slowly…

    2. avatar Fuque says:

      I doubt even bob ross could weld a wider brush.

  18. avatar Peter Lane says:

    I suppose I’d wonder which caliber Eazy E had in his Mac 10…

  19. avatar Stinkeye says:

    Interestingly, it appears that firearms-related lyrics in general are on the decline from their peak in the ’90s “gangsta rap” period:


  20. avatar Avid Reader says:

    Nick, I’m still waiting for the answer to the big question:

    Who popped Tupac?

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Suge Knight

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Tupac was in the car with Knight. Both were hit. It isn’t likely that Knight would call down fire on his own position.

        It’s more likely that Compton gang called the Southside Crips knocked off Tupac since he’d been in a nasty brawl with them just before the shooting.

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Learn something new every day.

        2. avatar TTACer says:

          I thought the gang was called “The LAPD”

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          That was the Notorious B.I.G.

        4. avatar neiowa says:

          Nuke them all from orbit. Like cockroaches, it’s the only want to be sure.

  21. avatar John M. says:

    The forty four wins in the Blues version of this chart, I’m sure.

  22. avatar TTACer says:

    I am of the age where I love Rap. While I may not agree with the handling of firearms in the average rap song, they are not worse than “Down By The River” by Neil Young, or “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats. They are just stories. Except for the Mondays song, that really happened.

    1. avatar Phil COV says:

      All the stories nowadays involve da’ club. I’ve not found a story worth hearing.

  23. avatar PeterW says:

    What caliber is a “GAT”?

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      Gat is a very old slang term for a gun. I guess you don’t watch too many Bogart movies.

      1. avatar acidjesus says:

        “Gat” is short for “Gatling” and is used to refer to automatic firearms only.

  24. avatar Adam says:


    “Forty calibre” is mentioned in this song.

  25. avatar IdahoPete says:

    Don’t forget that early rapper, Bob Dylan:

    “In Search Of Little Sadie”
    Went out last night just to take a little round
    I get my little Sadie and I brought her down
    I run right home and I went to bed
    With a forty-four smokeless under my head.

  26. avatar tk says:

    What about the “Foty”, as in “Glock Foty”?

  27. avatar Eric says:

    45 isnt a good judge of caliber discussion as Colt 45 is malt liquor

  28. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Pray and spray with the super 9.

  29. avatar Tom Collins says:

    “A lotta beer, a lotta girls an a whole lotta cursin’ – twenty two automatic on my person” Beastie Boys, late 80’s

  30. avatar S.CROCK says:

    I would say 9mm wins by a landslide if you factor in every reference to a “nina.” 7.62×39 comes in second when you count “chopper.”

  31. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    There is actually a street crew in Chicago named after the 40cal…but yeah nine wins. It’s one reason murders are down and shootings are up in the city. Yeah I know all rappers aren’t gang membersLOL

  32. avatar Full Cleveland says:

    Must be that Al Gore rhythm I here them talking about.

  33. avatar p161911 says:

    Coolio has his “10 in his hand” in Gangsta’s Paradise. Any other 10mm references?

  34. avatar KalashniKEV says:

    Method Man spits a .41 Revolver on New Year’s Eve… and I think he’s the only one.

  35. avatar KalashniKEV says:

    Good thing I’m “standin’ behind the deuce-deuce-tray…”

  36. avatar matthew says:

    “I didn’t even have to use my ak. I have to say, today was a good day.”
    Ice cube – Today was a good day

  37. avatar Phil COV says:

    I guess on pirates rap about the uses of the 7.62x54R.

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