Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has been riding a hot hand lately. After re-signing NBA megastar LeBron James, Gilbert revealed that he invested $40 million into the “Genius Project,” formerly known as Rap Genius. Gilbert made the announcement via his blog, Choose Thinking, explaining how he got involved with Genius, his belief that hip-hop has been “one of the most influential music genres of our time,” and his mission to “annotate the world.” Below is an excerpt from his blog post:
Have you heard of a newly released app, web site, business concept or technology and thought to yourself: “Why doesn’t this already exist?” The gap it fills and problem it solves seems so simple and common sense that you start asking yourself: “Why didn’t I think of that?!” That was my response when I first heard of Rap Genius, originally a crowdsourced platform for decoding complex rap lyrics.
For nearly four decades, rap (and hip-hop culture in general) has been one of the most influential music genres of our time. Rap and Hip-Hop have transcended from music into fashion, sports, politics, film and pop culture.
Since its debut in 2009, Rap Genius has caught on in a big way among artists and the public, allowing everyone to dive into the lyrics of hip-hop music to find a deeper and better understanding of the creators’ original intent. In addition, the burgeoning company has entered into licensing partnerships with all of the major music publishers, as well as dozens of smaller ones.
Friday, Rap Genius took their concept to a completely new level by re-launching the platform as ‘Genius’ (genius.com). With a new name and a broader scope, Genius takes a huge step toward fulfilling its mission to crowdsource the annotation of ALL TEXT on the internet (that’s right—the entire web).
Genius has found insane success since its launch in 2009. Along with the investment by Gilbert, the company has inked deals with numerous publishing labels including Warner/Chappell and released an iPhone app.