Rap Genius (along with News Genius, Rock Genius, and Poetry Genius) is crowdsourced, so anyone can annotate the texts - from lyrics to Supreme Court cases! Join verified experts, from rappers like Chance the Rapper to rights groups like the ACLU, in breaking down the stories. Get started and check out our newest work with Junot Díaz.

Founders Tom, Ilan, and Mahbod will be replying. We'll be live adding questions and responses on this page!

PROOF: https://twitter.com/RapGenius/status/360062495370653696

EDIT: Thanks guys! All love from us! We'll be around as /u/TheRapGenius!

Comments: 520 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

andrahaha41 karma

  1. will Lil B ever get verified? are you planning to somehow get him verified? did he ever decline any invitations? dammit he need some explaining to do on your site haha

  2. Do YOU think New Slaves 2nd verse is the best verse of all time? if not, what is?

TheRapGenius26 karma


2ND VERSE OF NEW SLAVES: alllllmost as good as first verse of "Like a Martian" (maboo)

TheRapGenius6 karma

  1. inshallah!

  2. it's a great verse but not my FOAT -ilan

rangdee3 karma

THIS question needs answers

Dunnesta35 karma

Have you ever experienced an artist informing you that a you were over-thinking a lyric too much, and that the actual meaning was a lot more simple?

TheRapGenius30 karma

we thought raekwon was making a semi-obscure lex luger reference in this one, but he told us nope http://rapgenius.com/861263 -ilan

GogglesVK17 karma

What do you have to say to all the idiots that post up convoluted BS annotations to lyrics on the site?

TheRapGenius16 karma

STOP DAT! seriously!

no but it is crowd source what can you do? the best floats to the top! (maboo)

TheRapGenius1 karma

thank you for using the website (and then i edit it or whatever) -ilan

IanicRR16 karma

You guys seriously need to stop using hashtags in these comments. Making you seem really stupid.

TheRapGenius18 karma

I feel you #feelme

Beastsider16 karma

Do you plan on adding a "hover" feature to your site as opposed to clicking on the lyrics to have the information pop up?

TheRapGenius36 karma

we've tried this a little bit, but it always comes out annoying -ilan

Spinelli3716 karma

Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why did Judas rat to Romans while Jesus slept?

TheRapGenius6 karma

Maxerious16 karma

Do you guys have anything against Jay-Z or does Jay-Z have anything against you guys? rapgenius is awesome btw!

TheRapGenius30 karma

i got to hang out with jay z recently (#nohyphen)

when i introduced myself he turned to his buddy (ebro darden from hot 97) and was like "yo, this guy started rap genius!"

we looked at the site a bunch together, and he was into it. he specifically wanted to go through his verse on "no church in the wild"

we want him to get verified and go into his lyrics on the site, but he's surrounded by an impregnable wall of business people and the like, so it's hard. eventually i think he'll find it compelling enough to want to use on his own (like twitter) -ilan

knightspore15 karma

For the three of you, which albums have you been listening to the most of recently?

TheRapGenius32 karma

TOM: honestly i still listen to blue chips and 10day a lot.. (#stuckin2012)

MildlyAngryBlackMan6 karma


TheRapGenius4 karma

Ye seemed more than mildly angry...

TheRapGenius7 karma

yeezus and 3 or 4 akon tracks on repeat -ilan

herrshuster14 karma

Any plans for a browser extension to annotate anything on the web? If not...that idea's free.

TheRapGenius11 karma

tom: eventually you'll be able to annotate anything, but it's tricky from a tech perspective. e.g., how do you disambiguate a paragraph on the full page nytimes article from a paragraph on page 1? what if the document changes?

once we do it'll have to be a browser extension until we can convince publishers to add our JS

TheRapGenius5 karma

we do have a working version of this built but not released! we used a lot of the technology from the bookmarklet we built into our google reader replacement, reader2000.com -ilan

growinspirals12 karma

I'm a grad student studying rhetoric, user experience design, composition, teaching of writing, history of the internet/web (y'all really scored with getting Andreesen on board!), and technical communication. I'm not a programmer, but a communicator and experience designer with a bomb-ass vision for how your tech fits into the reading/writing classroom. If someone like me wants to work for you (aka not a programmer), do I have a shot?

TheRapGenius5 karma

what's your rg username? -ilan

gouverneurmorris11 karma

What lyrics page gets the most hits on your site?

TheRapGenius14 karma

gouverneurmorris9 karma

Thanks for your response. What about most hits all time?

TheRapGenius20 karma

TOM: last time i checked it was "mercy".. but "get lucky"'s moving up fast.. it's been awhile since a song has tickled everyone's primal reptile brains like "get lucky" has..

Look_Alive11 karma

Do you guys feel you were an inspiration for the character of Jean Ralphio in Parks & Rec?

CreampieCarnage8 karma

Do you ever look at a Riff Raff lyric and think to yourself "What the fuck is wrong with this dude?"

TheRapGenius6 karma

Tom: if you don't like riff raff it's bc you don't understand! he breaks it down for you here: http://rapgenius.com/Riff-raff-rookie-of-the-year-2013-lyrics

psychedelious8 karma

Hey I didn't know about this site before. You just earned yourselves a new follower. Good job on the site.

Question: Somebody might have already asked you bout your favourite rappers, but who's your favourite producers?

TheRapGenius8 karma

TOM: mike will made it, hitboy, la musica de harry fraud, ummmm... noah "40" shebib

indraneel7 karma

Has anybody denied your request to be verified on RG? Alternatively, who was the most receptive to RG/most fun to kick it with?

TheRapGenius2 karma

not surprisingly, a lot of great artists are also fun in person. danny brown and chance the rapper stick out as cool guys -ilan

TheRapGenius1 karma

TOM: i love every artist, but in my opinion the artists that MOST understand the power / future of verified annotations are:

  1. http://rapgenius.com/ChanceTheRapper
  2. http://rapgenius.com/kittypryde
  3. http://rapgenius.com/MachineGunKelly

lcdmilknails3 karma

love you guys but don't you feel that stuff like "Health Genius" is dangerous? what's next, "Legal Genius." people should not be crowd sourcing important life decisions like healthcare ;)

TheRapGenius3 karma

maybe we should add a disclaimer lol. right now health genius is breaking down stuff like the ingredients in the taco bell menu. doesn't feel super dangerous, but we'll see where it goes

i know doctors and scientists look at and edit wikipedia and consider it more accurate than textbooks. we're hoping to get on that level one day -ilan

MangeyMammoth723 karma

Just thanking you that you covered Lil Dicky so fast.

TheRapGenius3 karma

Dicky's the best!

rolanddaggett3 karma

I noticed that there is a rapgenius entry for The Great Gatsby. Why is this?

TheRapGenius1 karma

there's a ton of literature on the site - check out http://poetrygenius.com

gatsby annotations started with an english class in texas. the guy who taught that class now helps teachers around the country use rap genius in their classrooms (for literature, music, science, current events, etc) -ilan

destroyerbrowne3 karma

What are your favourite colours?

TheRapGenius1 karma

tom: orange on black duh – that's been the color scheme since the beginning. i remember picking it and thinking "this black background thing is gonna make everyone freak the FUCK out".. and i was right!!

but i think the whole "it's less readable" meme is fake – it's something people say bc they know it's a meme, not bc they believe it. personally like dark background.. more chill!!

joelax022 karma

Do you plan on expanding off of your own website, to allow annotation across the entire web?

For example would the author of a New York Times article be able to report at a high-level, while breaking it down using Rap Genius for those with less inside knowledge of the subject matter, all while never leaving the NYTimes page?

nberms2 karma

Who is the GOAT?

TheRapGenius0 karma

for me: biggie, nas the don, eminem's first 2 albums, jay-z pre-tirement, killa cam in the diplomatic golden age, and yes, mixtape weezy, -ilan

Rajowa2 karma

Have you guys ever considered releasing a mobile app?

TheRapGenius2 karma

Chuch! It's coming so soon!

PKMNtrainerKing2 karma

Can you make me a rap about the letter 'I'?

TheRapGenius5 karma

There's no "I" in team/ But there's two eyes in me/ Said "aye" to the dream/ So these ideas I could see

TyrantXXX2 karma

Tell me why it takes years for updates. RG tech is awful.

TheRapGenius2 karma

TOM: it's fucking hard lol! but i truly feel you. the real reasons are:

  1. it takes a lot of energy just to keep the site up / fast. this is a moving target bc the thing is growing (thanks to you!)

  2. writing new features in a way that doesn't turn your code into a total unreadable mess is hard. the worry is that every new feature makes the codebase that much more complicated and so the next feature gets harder and so on until you have no new features ever. it takes a lot of work to prevent this from happening

THAT SAID: get at me in a month if you don't see some cool shit. IT'S COMING!!

_killer1 karma

If 'Ed Lover' was the name of a cheeseburger, what would be on it?

TheRapGenius0 karma

I'm guessing some "gasolina" -maboo

_allFallsDown1 karma

How do you respond to critics that you’re slumming given your background as members of the elite who have spent your life (almost) exclusively within private schools such as (idk where you went but it’s Andover or Exeter, I’m not sure) and Yale without being exposed to poorer black communities that hip-hop mostly represents? How did four years in New Haven being served by exclusively black people in the dining halls influence your understanding of hip-hop? Did you ever venture further west than Winchester?

Why do you represent yourself as hip-hop when you’ve literally never been poor and have not experienced anything than what hip-hop artists mostly based their topics on? To you, is hip-hop a form of music, another genre, or a lifestyle? Or does it reflect larger issues such as racial inequalities, systemic prejudice, and other issues?

TheRapGenius69 karma

we didn't go to andover or exeter lol (yale tho, guilty). we just made the website because we like rap and making websites and kept at it because it's been really interesting. we don't claim personally to be authorities, but we try to engineer the website in a way that produces interesting writing about rap and other stuff

i don't consider hip-hop this or that thing. it's a big question


TheRapGenius35 karma

TOM: I had little interest in rap lyrics until 2009 when my friends started pausing the track and breaking down verses for me in real-time, after which my appreciation went from "I like this beat!" to "holy shit these lyrics are insane! why don't more people appreciate this?"

The site started as an outgrowth of my beginning to love rap and love the particular style of listening to rap where you try to understand exactly what's going on / what every reference is. And of course I was tickled by the idea of turning around those who didn't think rap was lyrically sophisticated.

So from the beginning the philosophy of the site was that everyone who's into art should be into rap too. And if you're REALLY into rap and want to spend a bunch of time dissecting exactly why it's good, you can sign up for Rap Genius and contribute regardless of your background. And if you're really REALLY into it, maybe start a website that let's people do this and devote your life to it..