Interview: Rap Genius

I'm sure many hip hop fans have truly wondered what some of their favorite songs mean, or maybe it is a specific line that you really just couldn't decipher. If that has happened to you, a solution has be online right in front of you called Rap Genius. The site has covered thousands of songs and continues with the help of their readers. You can create an account and contribute, the more you do (as long as they are good contributions) the more Rap IQ you earn and then eventually you can edit anything you want on the site. As they say on their About section, essentially they are a hip hop wikipedia. The site is getting recognition everywhere from different publications, rap fans, and rappers themselves. Learn some more about this sophisticated site of rap knowledge below from Mahbod, who helps run it.

For those who don't really know about Rap Genius or have been on the site before, what is the site all about?
Rap Genius explains all of rap lyrics, line-by-line, with multimedia accompaniment. Our philosophy is roll that shit, light that shit, smoke that shit.

How did the concept of Rap Genius come about?
I was explaining Cam'ron to my friend. What's funny is I gave him an incorrect explanation! But one of the other editors has since fixed it. Here's the line

When did you finally go live with the site?We started putting up songs 2 years ago (first song was KILLA CAM: )

How does the process work as far as song selection for people to dissect?
It's a hivemind - Popa Wu controls it. I run the Twitter and most of the Facebook, but I basically post what people tell me to post (although I add jokes)

What has been the coolest aspect about running the site?
Groupie love

Have any rappers reached out to you guys about lyric interpretation?
I was chilling with my man Lupe yesterday, we were on a Fiasco Street Team hip-hop panel together. We discussed adjustable rate mortgages, the banality of evil... I felt like I was talking to Moses.

Childish Gambino corrected his own lyrics once, Jean Grae gives us her lyrics, Talib hooks us up, some Odd Future people explain their own shit but I'm not allowed to say who.. WALE shows us more love than any rapper, he is the Official Rapper of Rap Genius which is why we wrote this touching post about him and J Cole being different colors:

Wale told me: "there is sooooo much in that article that I feel in my heart." NAS is going to be the first rapper to have a certified account as a rap genius editor! He said he wants to correct some of the Mobb Deep explanations LOL

What has been one of the most difficult hip hop songs to analyze on rap genius? Maybe the most talked about and argued about among people?
Lupe Fiasco Failure and the Cool saga in general:

Also Wu-Tang Clan has a weird code that we have not yet 100% cracked.. MF Doom is supposed to be complicated, Cam'ron, Gucci Mane it's hard to understand what he's saying! I like it...

Kanye vs Lil Wayne, who has more complicated lyrics?
LOL (kanye) Not that Kanye's lyrics are complicated or anything, but still..

Running Rap Genius seems kind of like a full-time gig, is it?
Every day I'm hustlin'

Where are you looking to take Rap Genius in the future?
We're explaining Milton's Paradise Lost right now:

I also plan on explaining the entire Tax Code on the site

Furthermore, I have about 100 of my own freestyles - I'mma post all of those and explain those, you'll see, my shit is lyrical..

Connect with Rap Genius: Facebook | Twitter | Website


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