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It was recently announced that the good folks at Rap Genius are to receive a hefty investment of $15 million from California-based Venture Capital Firm Andreessen Horowitz. For the unfamiliar, Rap Genius is an online community for Hip-Hop fans on which crowd-sourcing provides lyrics of rap songs and annotated explanations to clarify their meanings.

Firm co-founder Marc Andreessen posted an annotated explanation to Rap Genius for the curious, expounding on the sense of community that attracted him to the site:

Given that Rap Genius is a web site where people explain rap lyrics, and given that my partner Ben [Horowitz] 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… Let me explain why we’ve invested in Rap Genius. First, there is the undeniable, irrepressable phenomenon that Rap Genius already is – the definitive online community of rap aficionados; one of the fastest growing web sites in Y Combinator’s history; a thriving ecosystem of ideas, artists, and fans.

After further praises of Rap Genius’s sense of community, Andreessen explained that the site’s utilization of annotations appealed to Andreessen Horowitz more than its actual content. The firm’s interest in website annotation apparently dates back to the beginning stages of the World Wide Web’s:

Finally, there’s the other reason – maybe even the real reason – why I’m so fired up about this idea and this investment.

Only a handful of people know that the big missing feature from the web browser – the feature that was supposed to be in from the start but didn’t make it – is the ability to annotate any page on the Internet with commentary and additional information.

Head over to Rap Genius to read the rest of Andreessen’s letter.

[Spotted at The Fader]


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Photo: Rap Genius

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