Friday, November 22, 2013


Lyric site Rap Genius allows users to interpret lyrics but are they accurate?

The popular site Rap Genius allows users to decipher not only rap lyrics but any transcript from anything ever spoken. For example: they have speeches, interviews, pretty much anything anyone has ever said into a microphone listed on their site. The site is flooded with users who have picked apart every word with their own personal "interpretation".

Sounds pretty cool right? Sure, but why would a speech transcript need to be "interpreted"? Was it not clear enough? Does all of Steve Jobs' motivational speeches need to be listed and translated by the same people throwing in their 2 cents on some rap song lyrics? 

Does every rappers lyrics need to be translated? How accurate is the interpretation?

Rap Genius has a system implemented called "Rap IQ" which gives user's annotation seniority over others. So what's stopping multiple user accounts? Invalid annotation voting? Popular misconception being glorified as the truth? Are these annotations really solid? So if one person tells me Jay-Z was talking about garden equipment when he said "ho", I'm supposed to believe him?

Apparently yes, as the site is also decorated with videos from some of the actual artist confirming the meaning behind certain lines in their lyrics. However, this is not always the case. Some annotations  go unfounded and are simply not challenged as they should be.

Is Rap Genius hurting individual interpretation? Is there really only one way to look at things?

Rap Genius is also littered with aspiring music artist from parts unknown who have kindly stuffed their own song lyrics into the jumble. Google seems to have been flooded with the sites content lately; Just looking for an article on Rap Genius - Google brings up nothing but the sites lyrics with the words you typed. This may be the reason why their criticism seems so absent. 

What do you think? Is Rap Genius a credible site for lyrics? Does it's "IQ" system hurt the user? Do you think interview transcripts and speeches should be on their for interpretation? Or do you think the site is ridiculous? Leave your comment below. 

Title image source: imperialphotos Gif source: harpercollins