Rap Genius and the Open-Sourcing of Hip Hop Knowledge
a presentation by RapGenius.com founder Mahbod Moghadam
and a panel discussion about the online presence and future of hip hop
featuring: Jeff Chang, Rickey Vincent, and MC Rico Pabón
Thursday, February 7th – 4-6pm
Maude Fife Room
315 Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley
The landscape in which fans listen to and enjoy hip hop is changing rapidly and dramatically through the use of new information technology projects critiquing and contextualizing hip hop for the masses. Perhaps the most popular and innovative of these sites is RapGenius.com, a Wikipedia-style forum that offers user-generated explanations and interpretations of hip hop lyrics. With around 10 million unique visitors per month, Rap Genius offers users the opportunity to listen to hip hop songs, read explanations of lyrics posted by fans and artists, and add their own interpretations of their favorite lyrics.
On February 7th, Rap Genius founder Mahbod Moghadam will offer a presentation on the history and philosophy of Rap Genius in addition to performing a demonstration of the site’s many use cases. Following the presentation, Moghadam will field questions from a panel featuring hip hop scholars, authors, and community activists Jeff Chang and Rickey Vincent as well as Bay Area MC and community activist Rico Pabón. The question-and-answer session and panel discussion will address issues including, but not limited to, the fluid relationship between hip hop production and consumption, the tension between locally-situated lyrics and their global interpretations, and the dynamics of privilege and demographics inherent in any project related to information technology. The fundamental question guiding our panel will be: How can online forums such as Rap Genius (www.rapgenius.com), Who Sampled (www.whosampled.com), and Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) and their open source wikification of hip hop’s local knowledges add value to urban intellect and artistry rather than serving to coopt and undermine insider knowledges for a voyeuristic global audience?
The event is free and open to the public.