DeepBeat uses deep learning to help you write rap

Our DeepBeat rap, featuring contributions from The Notorious B.I.G. and company

So, you've got the stage presence and you've got the moves, the only thing you need to become the next great rapper is, uh … stuff to rap about. Well, researchers from Finland's Aalto University, HIIT (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology) and the University of Helsinki may be able to help. Their DeepBeat machine learning algorithm can help shmucks like us create rap lyrics, with a little help from the pros.

DeepBeat was originally created as a machine learning research tool, but just recently became available online for public use. It utilizes a database that currently consists of 641,000 lines of lyrics (in English and Finnish), drawn from 12,500 songs performed by 100 established rap artists.

Users start by selecting a topic that they wish to rap about, or even typing in their own opening line. From there, the system uses its deep neural network to select relevant lines that (at least roughly) match the rhyme scheme and the meter, allowing users to choose the one that they like best. Utilizing this technique, users can build up entire verses, one line at a time.

As the process goes on, the algorithm learns from the user's choices, using them to refine its subsequent suggestions. It also applies that knowledge when doing searches for subsequent users, getting smarter with every use. In fact, the "rhyme factor" of its lyrics is reportedly 21 percent better than that of the best English-language rappers.

That said, as can be seen by our wonderful creation at the top of the page, the results can also be pretty nonsensical – even when the user writes every other line, as we did. It also doesn't exactly foster creativity, but then again it's not really supposed to. It's more intended as an interactive demonstration of deep learning, and as a fun way of putting together some goofy songs.

DeepBeat can be accessed now, on the project website. If typing in your own opening line, do so in the top box that already has the instructions in it, then click on the empty line below to select what you've written, and then click on Suggest Rhyming Line.

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