Last Friday, Betabeat followed up on reports from author Byron Crawford about offensive racist IMs shared in one of Rap Genius’ editor chatrooms. (For those of you unfamiliar with Rap Genius: A. Where the hell have you been? And B. Here’s our contribution to the cacophony on their $15 million investment from Silicon Valley powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz.)
In response to our questions about the racist chatter, cofounder Mahbod Moghadam dismissed the notion that this was reflective of the Rap Genius community, telling Betabeat that users can gain entry into “Editor Chats,” without being vetted by earning Rap IQ points on the site and that users have used voting rings to game the system in the past. He then blamed hackers for the offensive content, before recanting and saying the parties responsible were merely exploiting a loophole in the system that allowed members to impersonate another user’s name in chat, rather than hacking into the company’s code.
Critics have expressed concerns about Rap Genius’ interloper status in the rap world as well as the Ivy League tone of users who contribute analysis of hip-hop lyrics to the site, not to mention an ill-advised diss video aimed at the rap group Das Racist after one of its members called Rap Genius “white devil sophists.”
But the braggadocious Mr. Moghadam is apparently undeterred by the negative responses both to his skills as a rapper and to his at times abrasive public persona. In response to “the haters,” he has recorded another diss video and posted to the site. Which haters, exactly, is he referring to, we asked? Mr. Crawford and “90s bloggers,” Mr. Moghadam explained.
At this point, we find ourselves at a loss for words save for a genuine sense of awe that a $15 million investment does not a muzzle make. Rap Genius members, however, have already begun to annotate his lyrics on the site. Because of course.