How Rap Genius is killing the game

Rap Genius is incredible.  It is the “Hip Hop Wikipedia.”  As a fan of hip hop, it’s amazing to be able to visit a legitimate lyric site that doesn’t look like a Geocities massacre.  Rap Genius is clean and has a great user experience.  What I personally love about hip hop, is the cleverness in the lyrics.  I listen for that rewind moment, where you have to question how amazing a line was, and go back on your WinAmp track bar to hear it one more time.

Here is how they are killing it:

Crowdsourcing Lyrical Definitions – Much like Wikipedia, Rap Genius is crowd powered by a dedicated group lyric decoders.  Right now the only reward for submitting songs/definitions to Rap Genius is RapIQ and a boatload of swagger to go with it.  RapIQ is defined by participation for submitting songs, defining lyrics, and most importantly you are rewarded for quality entries.

YouTube Soundtrack – One of the most clever pieces of technology on the site is the YouTube soundtrack Rap Genius provides.  When a user submits a song, they input a YouTube link, and that link turns into an audio only track.  Now you can read up on the lyrics and get your head bobbin’ to the track at the same time.

Like Individual Entries – This is one of my favorite things about the site!  As a total Facebook goon, I like when I see clever implementations of social plugins on websites.  When someone decodes a set of lyrics, an extra little window pops up that allows for voting up/down AND you can Like the individual definition!  This is absolutely one of the coolest uses of the Like button I have ever seen.  Imagine if this was a part of your everyday browsing experience?  If you could Like small snippets across the web that would absolutely be a game changer for the detailed information contained in the Open Graph.  Someone with technical skills, make it happen, damn.

Incredible Community – Hip hop in general has an incredibly passionate community but the group that has formed around Rap Genius is doing work, everyday.  There are a lot of sites out there that have been trying for a long time to get a community that is this engaged, but continue to fail.  I’m sure it has something to do with the site’s focus on hip hop, but the user experience when you are on Rap Genius is something that everyone can learn from.

Passion – Rap Genius is a clear result of passion, and it shows.  I myself have trouble making projects like this simply because I am passionate about it.  It’s hard not to look for the money in anything that you do, and maybe Rap Genius will eventually start to monetize the site, though right now it appears they just love hip hop.  I have a lot of respect for what they have done here.

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