Annotating human culture: an interview with the founders of Rap Genius
Yale grads Mahbod Moghadam, Tom Lehman, and Ilan Zechory think they’ve found it in Rap Genius—a website where thousands of users publicly annotate everything from Emerson to Eminem. Each line in a Rap Genius entry is a clickable link that reveals information about the many allusions and metaphors hidden beneath the surface of a text. With 1.4 million site visitors per day and $15 million in venture capital funds from Andreessen Horowitz, Rap Genius has expanded to include annotations of political speeches, poetry, legalese, and even art. "This is the thing you have to understand about the magnitude of the opportunity here. We can be the website people go to to understand all of human culture," Tom told me. Last week, I sat down with him, Mahbod, and Dan Berger in a Brooklyn cafe to hear about Rap Genius’ wild ride.