I’ve not paid much attention to rapgenius outside of the noted investment of Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, but when I saw that they used the service to dissect and drive meaning from Andrew Mason’s letter about his recent firing as Groupon CEO my attention was perked. All of a sudden it occurs to me that this type of service could be used for a whole lot more than lyrics. For those new to the site, this is what they are aiming to do:
You can listen to songs, read their lyrics, and click the lines that interest you for pop-up explanations – we have thousands of canonical rap songs explained (2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z – even the beginning of the Torah..) Our aim is not to translate rap into “nerdspeak”, but rather to critique rap as poetry.
Sort of a crowd sourced way to build understanding around the reification of thought (be it lyrics, a resignation letter, an essay, or other type of text) through word by word analysis. Imagine the power in any number of courses — from english to poly science — to get students to think more deeply about text. I can even see a group of friends using it to drive deeper and shared meaning from something like a political speech (or if that isn’t your thing, Oscar acceptance speeches). Just an interesting thought on applying crowd-sourced critique in new spaces.