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Mahbod Moghadam

Maboo cofounded the website formerly known as Rap Genius. He's currently working on "Rap Jesus," a book about his time at RG.
genius dispatch

Mahbod Moghadam: Who’s Really Benefiting When We Censor Terrorists (and Ourselves)?

mahbod moghadam genius dispatch

On the day of the news of James Foley’s beheading, I was very sad. I thought he looked so brave, and I have a lot of respect for Americans who take an interest in the Middle East. I felt I could relate to him, and his death struck me on a personal level.

Naturally, I wanted to see the video the terrorists had released of his beheading. But every link I would click — there was nothing. All sites had removed the video.

When I told my friends that I wanted to watch the video, I got little sympathy. Nobody else wanted to watch it, they seemed to think it would be an act of disrespect to Foley to watch the video. Everybody seemed to think that I’m a sicko. Read More

genius dispatch

Response to Michael Brown Shooting Proves the Internet Is More Powerful Than Police

mahbod moghadam genius dispatch

How is the Michael Brown case different from Trayvon Martin? Superficially, the cases are quite similar, so why is the outcry – in Ferguson and on the internet – more amplified this time around?

The difference is that the Internet has become a far more powerful tool for social change in the past two years. While there is no video of Michael Brown being shot, the story is the climax of a series of instances of police brutality that have been caught on film thanks to ubiquitous iPhones. Read More

genius dispatch

Novelty Rules: Inside China’s Startup Culture with George Ruan

George Ruan.

My homie George Ruan is a serial entrepreneur with experience in China. Both of us are passionate about Bitcoin. China is my favorite country, and – especially with the advent of Bitcoin – the Chinese Internet intrigues me. Chinese people do everything better than us, so I am pretty sure someday the Chinese Internet will be much better than our crappy Internet. The Chinese version of Genius is going to be way better, for sure, since the entire website is a Confucian concept…

George was kind enough to sit me down and school me to the memes. He is currently the CEO of Honey, dope startup in Pasadena. Read More

genius dispatch

Disputed Monkey Pics Do Not Belong in the Public Domain

Screen shot 2014-08-06 at 5.51.50 PM

So, imagine you are a photographer and you are taking some cute monkey pics. Suddenly, the monkey takes your camera away and – rather than getting perturbed – you allow the monkey to do his thing, takes some selfies. You finally get your camera back and go home to develop the footage, and it turns out to be really cute! (see above)

Now imagine that Wikipedia tells you that the photo doesn’t belong to you, because you didn’t click the button, the monkey did. What kind of bullshit is that? So does this mean that photos taken with a “selfie stick” don’t belong to me, but rather, to the public domain? I didn’t push the button, after all…

This is what happened to photographer David Slater’s photos of a monkey in Indonesia. Wikimedia has denied his repeated requests for the photo to be taken down, and Slater is forced to take the matter to court, even though going to court is going to be costly and time-consuming. Read More

Expert Thoughts

Here’s Why I Was Afraid to Look Up My Uber Rating

Mahbod Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

Yesterday there was this meme where you could look up your own Uber rating, see what the DRIVERS thought of YOU.

When I first heard about this, I was deeply offended. I was like, “wait WTF, so I am paying all this money to be judged?!”

I am still pretty pissed about it, I think I am going to switch to Lyft. That way, I don’t have to be analyzed, I can just fist pound with my bruh-bruh. I am not a piece of meat, I am a human being! I think it is pretty shameful that Uber even lets the passengers judge the drivers, but whatever, at least I am paying to objectify this dude. Read More

Expert Thoughts

“Bitcoin Is The Truth,” Says Rap Genius Founder Mahbod Moghadam

Mahbod Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

My introduction to Bitcoin came from the smartest living man. Balaji Srinivasan is the youngest General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Currently he is building a development wing for Andreessen—a project that, to my knowledge, no VC has ever undertaken. Ben Horowitz calls him “Young Einstein”.

Balaji is Indian, but has piercing green eyes. Looking at his face is hypnotic. He is a prodigy — he started teaching at Stanford when he was 26. The first time I met him, he took me to brunch in Williamsburg and we discussed asking Nas to record a diss track on this bitch-ass tech reporter whom we both loathe…

The conversation quickly turned to Bitcoin. Read More

book club

Exclusive: Mahbod Moghadam Reveals Rocky Origins of Rap Genius

Rap Genius cofounders Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory and Mahbod Moghadam.

(adapted from Chapter 5 of  entitled Rap Jesus)

When Rap Genius started in 2009, the name was Rap Exegesis — the words “Rap Exegesis” were literally the first words that came out of my mouth when Tom (Lehman — my co-founder/BFF) presented me with the concept. We worked on the site for six months with this name, and even though we loved it, we knew it would someday have to change because: Read More