Andreessen Horowitz Invests $15M In Text Annotation Startup Rap Genius

Here’s an investment out of left field, but not really. Andreessen Horowitz is dropping $15 million into startup Rap Genius. It’s not just about rap, though. Think of it as “crowdsourced explanations of lyrics and historical texts.”

Here’s what the firm had to say by way of Rap Genius’ blog:

I’m delighted to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is investing $15 million in Rap Genius.

Given that Rap Genius is a web site where people explain rap lyrics, and given that my partner Ben is a noted rap fanatic, your first reaction might be, “That Horowitz guy has completely lost his mind.” I, on the other hand, find rap every bit as comprehensible as ancient Mesopotamian. That’s why I’m writing this blog post – not him. Let me explain why we’ve invested in Rap Genius…

We knew that Ben Horowitz was a rap fan, but to the tune of $15 million? We had no idea. Rap Genius is a community of people super into the musical genre and says it is one of the “fastest growing web sites in Y Combinator’s history.”

Update: Check out our follow up interview with Ben Horowitz on why its $15 million investment in “knowledge about knowledge” plus our hilarious video chat with the Rap Genius founders.

After making a few quips about Horowitz’ rap fascination, Andreessen reveals that the real reason the top VC is investing in Rap Genius is because the founder’s grand vision goes beyond rap music to all text annotation.

Founder Mahbod Moghadam wants to “annotate the world… be the knowledge about the knowledge… create the Internet Talmud,” Andreessen writes, explaining that the service, which crowdsources context around text, can be used to annotate literature, poetry, the Bible, political speeches, legal text, academic papers and “all culture.”

“The potential of this company is large,” Andreessen writes, and indeed it is, if the founders want to go beyond explaining the “Human Centipede” reference in Childish Gambino’s Bonfire to explaining all of text.

Big community, big traffic, too. It’s insane how much traffic that lyrics sites get, as people will hear a song and drop a few words of text into a search engine to find out what that song was.

If this doesn’t interest you enough, we hear that Mark Zuckerberg is a huge fan of the service and company.

Want more on Rap Genius, check out our article and video interview — Ben Horowitz And The Founders Explain Why A16Z Put $15M Into Rap Genius: Knowledge About Knowledge