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

Q&A

Rap Jesus: Ousted Genius Founder Mahbod Moghadam Finally Speaks

Mr. Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam might not be working at the startup he helped create (which was recently rechristened Genius) anymore. But he’s not going quietly — he recently revealed he’s working on a book about his time with the startup formerly known as Rap Genius.

We had to get some more details, so we emailed Mr. Moghadam some questions about his new project and his past experiences. Also check out this book teaser Mr. Moghadam shared with us from his upcoming tome, Genius Inc. Read More

Just Genius

Today in WTF Rap Genius News: $40M Raised, a Kanye West Redesign and Mahbod Is Writing a Book

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

When it comes to covering the tech industry, Rap Genius is the startup that keeps on giving. The average human can only take so many boring press releases about how a knockoff of Snapchat is going to change the world, you know?

But whenever the Rap Genius guys appear in public or sit for an interview, something bizarre happens. Today, for example, Business Insider broke the news that the annotation site has nabbed $40 million in funding from Ben Gilbert (as well as Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who is also an investor in BI) and that they’re changing their name to the catch-all Genius. Read More

Expert Thoughts

5 Celebrities I Met While Interning at Rap Genius

(Facebook)

Earlier this year, I took a leave of absence from college to go work for the cofounder of Rap Genius, Mahbod Moghadam. I lived with him in his house — the “Rap Genius Mansion,” I started calling it — in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, for a month.

There are a lot of negative misconceptions about Rap Genius, but there’s a reason why they have a $15 million Series A investment and the backing of some of the biggest names in the game. They’ve done an incredible job of putting together a collection of the most passionate, talented startup people that I’ve ever been around. Seeing the way that its three cofounders — Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory, and Mahbod — moved helped me learn in a way that college never could. This is a very serious company with a very bright future ahead of them, and I was incredibly fortunate to be a small part of it. Read More

App for That

Rap Genius Launches Shazam-esque Lyrics App

Something for pretty much everyone. (Screengrab: itunes.apple.com)

Fresh off the Christmas Day SEO snafu that had Google leaving their site for dead (to Google’s own detriment), the guys of Rap Genius have launched an app.

The app, called Genius, connects to users’ iPhone music players, allowing them to read and annotate lyrics while listening to songs. A button allows users to get the lyrics for what they’re listening to, or the songs in their iTunes Library. Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

Rap Genius Will Now Save Journalism Thanks to ‘News Genius’

The future of news. (Photo: Instagram/Owen Thomas)

The bros from Rap Genius opened up the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt NY with a very special announcement. They’re launching soon a new vertical called News Genius, which follows the paradigm of Rap Genius. However, instead of analyzing 2 Chainz lyrics, the site will explain news-related clippings and documents. That sort of sounds like journalism!

“I want Barack Obama to explain the news, the constitution and Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems,’” semi-joked cofounder Mahbog Moghadam, adding that “there has to be a legal explanation behind that.” The site, which was the idea of investor/”godfather” Ben Horowitz, has already softly launched judging by its Twitter account. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Rap Genius Cofounder Is Soliciting Diss Tracks About Warren Buffett, Tells 82-Year-Old Investor to Suck His @$%*

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Mark Zuckerberg is hardly the first billionaire turned off by the antics of Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam. As Betabeat learned while reporting a feature on the startup’s $15 million investment round from Andreessen Horowitz, Mr. Moghadam’s career in tech began only after he yapped his way out of an internship with Warren Buffet.

In the midst of the recession, Mr. Moghadam was given a year off–with reduced pay–from the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. Only Berkshire Hathaway found his personal blog, Beneficent Allah, where he wrote a satirical billable memo referencing the “Ballstate Insurance Company.” Allstate was a client of Dewey’s, the offer was rescinded and long story short, Mr. Moghadam now gets to dine with Nas. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Rap Genius Cofounder Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 3.25.10 PM

Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?

In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.

Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune. Read More

Love in the Time of Algorithms

Rap Genius Cofounder Searching for a Lucky Lady to Eat Sushi Off His Penis

(Photo: Sumner Dilworth, courtesy of Vibe)

The cofounders behind the lyric annotation database RapGenius are kind of like a trio of Tom Haverfords, albeit with a $15 million series A instead of a couple hundos from a certain mustachioed grump. In an attempt to further solidify their reputations as a cartoonish reimagining of the college ex-boyfriend who thought 808s and Heartbreak was “revolutionary,” RapGenius’s cofounders Ilan Zachory, Mahbod Moghadam and Tom Lehman submitted to an interview with Cosmo about sex and dating. Read More