Rap Genius Is Getting Into Breaking News Analysis With News Genius

The founders of lyric website Rap Genius revealed today that they’re starting to move into annotating news content too, under the name News Genius.

They were onstage at Disrupt NY, where they gave a surreal, joke-y interview without too much detail about what News Genius actually is. Co-founder Mahbod Moghadam mostly told the audience to follow the Twitter account and asked, “When is Obama getting a verified account?”

If you do follow the account, you can see links to a number of annotated news-related documents. The first one appears to be President Barack Obama’s statement to the Senate on gun control, which has been marked up with links to additional content and context. For example, when Obama referenced the shooting of US Representative Gaby Giffords, News Genius includes quotes from the Wikipedia article on that shooting.

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This might seem like a pretty radical shift from crowdsourcing explanations for rap lyrics, but the Rap Genius founders noted that they’ve already been expanding beyond that to include annotations of works of literature and other documents.

Still, there has been some pushback — on the Obama speech, three of the four comments are some variant of, “Why are these kind of things on RapGenius?” So as the company expands to more kinds of content, and it serves different types of users, it may need to do more work to divide that content on the site.

It more serious news, Rap Genius tells our writer Josh Constine its future business model will be building “Enterprise Genius”, a collaborative document annotation tool for businesses.