Rap Genius, the popular site that lets users explain rap lyrics by annotating specific words and lines with their own descriptions and links to supporting facts, is looking to expand its reach to cover more current events and breaking news. Enter "News Genius." Announced today by the founders of Rap Genius at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY conference, News Genius exists primarily as a Twitter account for now, which tweets out links to news audio clips and documents that have already been posted on Rap Genius. President Obama's comments yesterday in support of closing Guantanamo Bay have already been posted and explained by users, as have the charges against one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, with links back to other mainstream outlets including The New York Times.
The move is not totally out of step for Rap Genius, which has often been called a "Wikipedia for rap." After all, the three-year-old site has been rapidly expanding its reach to include all sorts of content lately, featuring user annotations of everything from Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech to the works of Shakespeare to iTunes terms-of-service to a note by Rap Genius investor Andreessen Horowitz. Last year, Rap Genius tweeted "we explained all of rap ... now we finna explain EVERYTHING," and its own about "about" page outlines that philosophy, saying, "Everything is hip-hop." But the new focus by the founders on news and current events is a clear indication that Rap Genius wants to lead the way when it comes to the larger trend of annotating the entire internet.