After Nas Endorsement, Rap Genius Lands $15 Million Investment

After Nas Endorsement, Rap Genius Lands $15 Million Investment

Popular website Rap Genius, known for decoding hip-hop lyrics, is now getting the fuel to take their research a step further with a $15 million investment.

The website broke the unexpected news in a blog post Wednesday (October 3) afternoon.

“I’m delighted to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is investing $15 million in Rap Genius. Given that Rap Genius is a web site where people explain rap lyrics, and given that my partner Ben is a noted rap fanatic , your first reaction might be, “That Horowitz guy has completely lost his mind .” I, on the other hand, find rap every bit as comprehensible as ancient Mesopotamian . That’s why I’m writing this blog post – not him. Let me explain why we’ve invested in Rap Genius…” (Rap Genius)

The investment will also look to break new ground for Rap Genius, extending far beyond only decoding hip-hop lyrics.

“It turns out that Rap Genius has a much bigger idea and a much broader mission than Explainthat. Which is: Generalize out to many other categories of text… annotate the world… be the knowledge about the knowledge… create the Internet Talmud. There’s music in other genres and other languages , but what other categories? Poetry , literature , the Bible , political speeches , legal texts , science papers . And those are just the start. We think the community will continue to expand beyond rap into all culture. The potential of this company is large. Finally, there’s the other reason – maybe even the real reason – why I’m so fired up about this idea and this investment.” (Rap Genius)

According to reports, the website’s creation came about just over three years ago.

Rap Genius’ back story is one of accidental genius. In August 2009, Moghadam, Zechory and Lehman were hanging out in the East Village. Moghadam, furloughed from his law firm gig, was explaining rapper Cam’ron’s lyrics to Lehman, a programmer for a hedge fund who was new to rap music. Moghadam and Zechory, a Google project manager and part-time hypnotist, were already rap enthusiasts. That night Lehman began coding a site envisioned as the Wikipedia of rap, the ultimate resource that would decode rap lyrics – the regional slang, insider references, double entendres. They began annotating their favorite songs, then their friends pitched in. Soon hundreds of editors had volunteered, and rappers even signed on for “verified accounts” to comment on their own lyrics. They dubbed it Rap Genius and eventually quit their day jobs. They split their time between Los Angeles and New York to stay close to the worlds of hip hop and big media. (Los Angeles Times)

Hip-hop veteran Nas became one of the first hip-hop artists to fully endorse Rap Genius.

As the first “verified rapper” on Rap Genius, which now boasts several million monthly unique visitors-more than the website of The Economist-Nas has been doing exactly that. He’s posted dozens of explanations of his lyrics to date, including several video breakdowns, and he’s been joined on the site by other verified rappers including RZA and A$AP Rocky, as well as 100,000 contributors and 450 handpicked volunteer editors. (Forbes)

Check out Nas speaking with Rap Genius below:

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