Rap Genius- Interacting with lyrics

Posted: July 7, 2013 by Dethfrequency in Discussion
Tags: , , , , ,

The relatively new website, Rap Genius has gotten quite a bit of buzz on the internet. Yahoo! News just did a report about the creator and his daunting task. What the site supposedly does is break down lyrics line by line, word by word, analyzing and “deciphering” (CNBC’s Erin Barry’s word) their true meanings.

The premise is simple enough, there are enough incoherent rap songs where even after reading the lyrics you still have no idea what the hell they were talking about. I’m pretty sure Lil’ Wayne hasn’t spoken english in several years. They’ve even branched out and starting working on rock and pop artists as well, citing bands like Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, and headaches like Justin Bieber and One Direction. But hasn’t this been done before? Anyone ever hear of Songmeanings.net?

The site creators believe they are taking it one step forward:
“The basic mission of Rap Genius is to critique rap as poetry. Its popularity owes to the fact that its contributors generally kick ass at this. But it can be tricky business: some annotations may remain underanalyzed while others may tend towards overanalysis.” Despite some minor ego stroking it seems to be a good self-evaluation of the site’s design.

Now analyzing song lyrics can be as simple as a few keystrokes on google but  they even go as far to find what the artist may have possibly been referencing to in a line. On their blog page website contributor Mahosian does a rather in depth breakdown of Jay-Z’s Heaven going into some analysis that actually begs the reader to analyze it with scrutiny and read in between the lines or particularly the word… Recycle.

“”Recycle:” One rhyming word later, he pokes fun at himself by admitting that recycling his former Michael line wasn’t actually self-referential because it was originally recycled from one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s famous lines: ”I perform like Mike – Anyone: Tyson, Jordan, Jackson.” Jay-Z is notorious himself for appropriating Biggie’s rhymes, and Nas famously took issue with Jay-Z’s recycling during a prominent rivalry between the two rappers.”

That’s rather a stretch in my opinion. I guess it makes sense but it’s hard to argue that Jay-Z was actually making a reference to all of those things. But they seem to address. They have big dreams and even went as far as to say that “We’re going to be the biggest website in the world—bigger than Facebook, bigger than Google, even bigger than Yahoo and CNBC.” Sounds to be a little bit of humor, but with such gandiose aspirations I hope they have a little bit of humility.

It’s an interesting idea to say the least and could lead to some great interaction with the music and possibly inciting some newage poets and artists who want people to give their interpretations of the words. Some interesting songs have been written in esoteric terms that certainly need to be deciphered. Who wants to do “I am the Walrus”?


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