Rap Genius Got $15 Million in Investor Financing. So Why Does Everyone Hate Them?
She questioned Penn's assertion that the Rap Genius crew doesn't understand the "struggle" at the heart of hip-hop, countering that she's "not concerned with matching who struggled more." Citing time spent in Africa among people who had next to nothing, she said she was instead interested in "shining light on that struggle as art."
As to another criticism from critic Andrew Noz -- that Rap Genius' much-ballyhooed search engine optimization techniques amount to little more than "Google bombing" -- Lehman asserts that the site provides a useful function, assisting the many rap fans who search out particular wordings, and meaning, of hip-hop lyrics. "It's a weird criticism when we're the only [lyrics website] out there paying attention to what the users actually care about," he says.
In any case, amidst the firestorm of headlines, Moghadam has found himself on a whirlwind, speaking at NYU and Columbia about Rap Genius, and accepting an invitation to appear at a prestigious German conference. This night in Malibu is a time to celebrate and take a deep breath, but the conversation returns to hip-hop before long.
Mike G, the rapper from Odd Future, sits at one of the house's numerous iMac computers looking up his song "Everything That's Yours" on YouTube to play for Moghadam's mother, who is here celebrating along with Moghadam's father, sisters, and nieces. Wearing a t-shirt paying homage to Mike G's crewmate Earl Sweatshirt, she's interested in understanding the track's lyrics.
Indeed, there's something inspiring about what's going on here. Though some assert that Rap Genius is for naive white kids, it actually can be of great assistance to someone like Moghadam's mother, who was born in Iran and speaks limited English. Indeed, if the site's representatives can bear down -- and Moghadam can stop putting his foot in his mouth -- one suspects that Rap Genius will become increasingly valuable to rap fans of all stripes.