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.
The Genius homepage and Twitter account are dominated by the likes (and likenesses) of Lil Yachty, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Kendrick, Kanye, and Beyoncé.
Its video series — which ranges from site-made breakdowns of noteworthy songs to interviews with artists, writers, and producers — by and large features black subjects: Out of the first 158 videos available at the time of this writing, only 53 center non-black artists, and 14 of those are hip hop artists.
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.