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Why Writers Should Read Rap Genius

Rap Genius scored $15 million in funding earlier this year, an investment to expand the community that loves to annotate rap lyrics.

Most writers don’t know it, but the site contains annotations for everything from 2Pac lyrics to F. Scott Fitzgerald prose to letters from Barack Obama to Chapter One of Genesis to Jay-Z lyrics.  The site has a simple goal: “Our aim is not to translate rap into nerdspeak,’ but rather to critique rap as poetry.”

Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam introduced the site at Mediabistro’s Social Curation Summit this week. If you want to annotate your favorite lyrics, you need to sign up for a Rap Genius account. If you want to add a song, poem, speech or story to the database, simply click “Add a New Song” button. You have to chose a rap, rock, poetry or other genre.

Here’s more from the site: “Rap Genius takes pride in its hygienic lyrics – please stay in tune with Rap Genius lyric style: Lyric format: Try to make the song look like a poem. Put the rapper’s name in brackets above his verse, like: [Verse 2: Lil Wayne] See this song for an example of proper formatting. Avoid cutting off the G in ‘ing’ unless it’s necessary for the rhyme: holding not holdin’grabbing not grabbin’, etc. Use apostrophes when words are shortened: Bangin’ instead of Bangin. Use ‘this’ not ‘dis,’ etc. Spellings like ‘finna,’ ‘trynna,’ are fine only when necessary for the rhyme scheme. Only include the intro / outro talking if it’s amusing or interesting.”

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