What do you imagine interning at a lyrics website that's run by three cartoonish Yalies with millions of dollars in the bank would be like? If your guess involved drugs, visits to Whole Foods, "raging," and a Bel Air mansion, you are correct. Bullshit internships, the startup way.
In their defense, though, half of the reason Genius interns Zach Schwartz and Jeremy Lilly seem so obnoxious is because of the way their profile is written on "NextShark.com," bulging with descriptions like this:
They both find themselves living in the best spot for women, weed, and weather, living in a mansion working for one of the coolest guys to work on the rap scene. Cigarettes in hand, we went to sit outside on the pool deck to talk about what their lives are like now.
But the facts on the ground are incontrovertible. There's no way you can misrepresent a box of t-shirts that have "Fuck Fuck Swag" printed on them:
We arrived at Rap Genius's mansion in the hills of Bel Air on a sunny day. Walking in the house there were some boxes of Rap Genius shirts that said in colorful letters "Fuck Fuck Swag," a volcano vaporizer was chilling in the corner, and they even had their own Rap Genius lighters and bottled water. [Co-Founder] Mahbod greeted us, a cup of tea in each hand, and that's when we first met Zach and Jeremy.
And of course, the interns give their own job summary:
"A typical day is like, we all get up, we might exercise or something, and we all go to Whole Foods. Mahbod loves Whole Foods. We all get these huge salads, oysters, smoothies, all this really nice stuff, and then we go back, we feast, and then we work for ten hours straight. At the end, its 9 or 10 p.m. and we just relax. Mahbod meditates, Jeremy and I go out, its really cool… It's been crazy, they filmed a music video here with Isaiah Rashad and that just happens like every day shit. It's crazy."
So, it's really like any other menial media internship, only you're groomed to act and sound exactly like your boss—in this case, Mahbod Moghadam, who famously blamed his past as an asshole on a brain tumor. You can sense them absorbing his persona with each quote:
"Yeah the perks and benefits are really nice but when it comes down to the end of the day, what's most important is the annotation, all literature, all rap, all text in human history."
Perks seem to include having the run of this large house, and fucking around a lot:
"I went in to Google once and I had the best food ever, there were massages upstairs… this is kind of the same thing except you are living in a mansion as a young person.
Yes, that does sound nice. It's unclear what the fuck these kids do, other than maybe plugging in annotations, setting up webstreams of house parties, as seen above, and buying bulk organic salads. If nothing more, Zach and Jeremy are diet lite versions of the guys who founded Rap Genius, as much self-promotional entities as businessmen. If your startup is based as much on hype and image as anything else—and it's unclear why you're worth millions of dollars on paper—you'll rest easy knowing people are still writing things like this about you:
So how was the party on Saturday? Filled with hipsters, a few rappers, a killer hip-hop playlist, some great booze, blunts, and other substances to medicate yourself with. Mahbod stuck to a strict diet of Scotch the whole night and when some Gucci Mane came on, he asked us jokingly, "Do you guys want to know what this song is about?" If I say anymore I could get into some trouble, but that's how the ballers of Poetry Genius live, work, and party in the hills of Bel Air.