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The claim is that more annotation equals more knowledge, and that annotations are the best, if not only, means In line with Genius’s own ambitions, talk about the site has drifted away from earlier rap-focused racial criticisms to thoughts about how the premise of Genius might affect the general infosphere.Even the company’s voice tries to enact a kind of millennial black vernacular (as brands are wont to do these days).One of those rare non-black interview subjects is French Montana, who sat down with Genius in June.Rap Genius has long shed the “rap” prefix from its name, a literal and symbolic gesture in concert with shedding a troublemaking co-founder, Mahbod Moghadam, and problematic past by expanding its sights beyond hip hop culture. once called it “white sophistry” in a song, which went on to be annotated by a user on the site.As Rap Genius, the site’s utility — as a rap translator — attracted criticism as an enterprise invested in mining black culture for white (or non-black) profits. Moghadam then recorded a response track making fun of the color of Kool A. This was all back in 2012, though, and might as well be ancient history online.In the Genius environment, music along with language must be standardized to the brand.That imperative becomes a problem when applied to entire genres of music predicated on bucking standardized language and sonic respectability.Rap is just one of many genres made available on the one-stop annotation station known only as Genius, which boasts, in its own words, “the world’s biggest collection of song lyrics and musical knowledge.” Unlike other lyric sites which mostly lie in wait below the Google search bar, Genius is proactive about its image, primarily on Twitter, where it boasts over 402,000 followers and counting.In 2016, it announced a partnership with Spotify, letting listeners go “behind the lyrics” on certain “Genius-powered” tracks.But Genius, despite its public rebranding, is still heavily dependent on hip hop and, more broadly, black culture.While severed from rap in name, the site’s persona and cool factor rely entirely on black music.