The Yale-educated dude trio that runs Rap Genius, a website dedicated to deciphering hip-hop for white people, gets a lot of mileage out of not being taken seriously. Their group goofiness is brilliant, letting them dodge any and all criticism in a self-serious field. Until Rap Genius threatens mouth rape on Twitter.
The twittercation went down after Chris Weingarten, a music critic at Spin, made fun of one of Rap Genius' user-contributed lyrical explainers:
But oh no—then this happened:
The tweet was soon deleted, but not before a lot of people noticed it, unfortunately for Rap Genius. I spoke with co-founder Mahbod Moghadam who said the tweet was "a bad thing, obviously," adding "we're not down with anything like this." "This" being jokes about oral rape. Moghadam said he wasn't sure who was responsible for the tweet, as "innumerable" employees have access to the official count, but the password is now changed.
After we hung up, @RapGenius tweeted out the following statement:
We're very sorry for an offensive tweet made earlier today. It was out of context, thoughtless and has since been removed.
Now that tweet has also been deleted.
I wondered what Andreessen Horowitz, the mega-venture firm that gave Rap Genius $15 million dollars not so long ago, thought about all this. Namesake partner Ben Horowitz has been an outspoken Rap Genius booster, going so far as to invite Moghadam, Nas, and Mark Zuckerberg over for what must've been one of the strangest dinners in the history of communal food. If one of his other investments, like Foursquare, Twitter, or Pinterest, made a joke-y tweet about rape, it'd certainly cause a stir, right?
Andreessen Horowitz communications honcho Margit Wennmachers sent me an automated message saying she's on vacation in Europe. Coworker Grace Ellis emailed me to say "You might want to reach out to Rap Genius directly on this one since I think we're probably missing some context here." I replied saying that I had done exactly that, I received no response.
Photo: Brian Ach/Getty
To contact the author of this post, write to email@example.com