• DON'T spam the site Contributor Guidelines by Rap Genius

Suggestions are for making Rap Genius better by correcting or improving song lyrics and explanations. They’re not meant for random comments, questions about the site, or self-promotion.

Please don’t leave ‘suggestions’ like these:

  • SWAG!!
  • this song sucks/go hard/is ma shyt
  • omg i luv this sonq and i luv u drake/usher/nicki!!!!!
  • He talking about Illuminati!!!
  • When I click explain nothing happens???
  • Good lyrics. Follow me on Twitter @selfservingasshat
  • Check out my remix/blog/review/video

Before leaving a suggestion ask yourself what the editors are supposed to do with it. If the answer is nothing, your comment belongs somewhere else.

To discuss songs, ask questions about the site, or show off your music, hit up the Rap Genius Forum. Save any other random comments for YouTube or your Tumblr.

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Follow these guidelines and RG Editors probably won't delete your work Contributor Guidelines by Rap Genius

Even if it’s well-written, your work might still be deleted under certain circumstances, such as:

  • Your work was just plain wrong
  • You explained an incorrect lyric. The lyric was corrected and your work no longer made sense
  • You explained lyrics on a duplicate song. The dupe was taken down and everybody lost their work

Wrong meaning either offensive or factually incorrect (double entendre don’t even ask me how…)

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• DO use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation Contributor Guidelines by Rap Genius

So you’ve got an interesting annotation with links to your references, perhaps supplemented by a well-chosen image. Don’t ruin it by writing like a five year old.

  • Write in full words, not text speak. There’s no 140-character limit on Rap Genius
  • Use the built-in spell checker to fix typos. Please don’t misspell “entendre”
  • Use full stops, commas, capital letters, and apostrophes where appropriate
  • Break up longer passages into paragraphs
  • Avoid wack(y) stuff like WRITING IN ALL CAPS or Starting Each Word With A Capital Letter

Editors will do their best to correct errors (not everyone’s first language is English after all), but there are way more explanations to review than there are editors. You can help by keeping your pen game on point.

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• DON'T annotate individual words Contributor Guidelines by Rap Genius

Highlight the entire line/lyric

Avoid cherry-picking one or two words in a line and annotating them out of context. Annotations like this have the same drawbacks as picture annotations: they’re dull, repetitive, and often don’t even explain the lyrics properly.

Worse still, they block other users from annotating the whole line. They’re forced to highlight the rest of the line and work on that. So instead of one solid annotation we end up with two or three lesser, partially overlapping ones. In cases like this, your one or two words risk being deleted merged into the larger annotation.

Example 1: “Takeover” by Jay-Z

I showed you your first Tec on tour with Large Professor

This short line used to be split into THREE separate annotations: one for the word “Tec”, one for “Large Professor”, and one for “on tour with”.

Not only was this overkill for a single line, only one of the annotations had anything to do with the song. The others were just generic definitions. Expanding the scope to the whole line encourages a fuller, more relevant, more interesting annotation.

Example 2: “Patience (Sabali)” by Nas and Damian Marley

Sabali, sabali, sabali yonkote
Sabali, sabali, sabali kiye
Ni kêra môgô

These few lines, which only contain six different words, were originally carved up into FOUR annotations, none of which even mentioned the origin of the lyrics. By slicing the phrase into such tiny pieces, the overall context of the words was lost.

So use your common sense. There’s a difference between annotating a line and just defining the words in it. Before going in on all of the Glocks, Macs, Mollys and leans in a song, ask yourself whether you could make your annotations more interesting by tackling longer phrases.

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• DO include a relevant image Contributor Guidelines by Rap Genius

Images (and videos) are a useful tool in annotations. Just like links, they make things more interesting and keep your writing concise.

When choosing images, try to find something relevant that adds value or insight to your words. Images take up a lot of space so make them count!

Things to avoid:

  1. Images with no text. If your picture doesn’t need any explanatory text you might be annotating the obvious. Or leaving out relevant information. A picture of something isn’t necessarily useful on its own. You still need to say what it is and/or why it’s being mentioned.

  2. Too many images. One killer image is better than two or three mediocre ones. Lots of pictures make your annotations reeally loooonnngg.

  3. Badly formatted images. Try to find things that look good on Rap Genius. Non-watermarked landscape images that fill the width of the annotation popup are best.

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• DO include links to your references Contributor Guidelines by Rap Genius

Cite Your Sources

Get into the habit of using links in your writing. It’s an easy way to make your annotations more interesting.

Links also help to keep your annotations succinct. Instead of lifting whole paragraphs from Wikipedia, you can just summarize the relevant points and link to the rest.

Here are the kinds of things you should be linking up:

  1. Other songs. Whenever you mention another rap song in your explanation, link to that song’s page on Rap Genius. If it’s not on the site, add it!

  2. Interviews, news stories etc. Don’t just vaguely refer to something you once read somewhere. If it’s online, track it down and link to it. Better yet, add it to News Genius and throw a few annotations on it! If you are going to put an interview/news story up on Rap Genius, remember to excerpt the import parts and annotate.

  3. Quotes. Don’t include quotes without linking to the source material. It’s frustrating to read an interesting snippet, but not know where to find the rest.

  4. Books, films, TV shows, famous people etc. Include links to these even if the reference seems obvious. American sports stars and old TV shows, for example, may not be widely known outside the US.

Note: Always integrate your links into the main text rather than adding them as footnotes at the bottom of your annotations.

When quoting a reference:

  • Don’t put the link in the quote

  • Don’t quote huge blocks of text

  • Do put the link before/after the quote

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So this DJ, he gets down
Mixing records while they go...
Hip Hop Vs. Rap by KRS-ONE

From Jimmy Spicer’s 15-minute opus, “Adventures of Super Rhyme”, released in 1980. Also jacked by Warren G for “What’s Next”

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Frisco Disco, the disc is like a Nabisco
Chocolate chip cookie, don't fuck with me rookie
Hip Hop Vs. Rap by KRS-ONE

This is KRS flaunting his old school credentials. “Frisco Disco” by Eastside Connection is a classic breakbeat, used most famously on Slick Rick’s hit “Mona Lisa”.

The original 12" is pressed on multicoloured vinyl.

So when the record spins it looks like the swirly pattern on packets of Nabisco Chips Ahoy! cookies.

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[Verse 1: The Notorious B.I.G.] Think Big by Pudgee (Ft. Lord Tariq & The Notorious B.I.G.)

This song was released in 1995 but Biggie’s verse was apparently recorded much earlier, pre Ready To Die. As Pudgee explained in a 2007 interview:

I knew Biggie for quite some time because we were both up and coming lyricists on the grind. A friend of mine, 9Hawk — who used to road manage Big Daddy Kane — put me on to him… I called him and I told him I wanted him on the song… The only song he had out at the time was party and bullshit.

That puts the recording of this track somewhere between the Summer of 1993, when “Party and Bullshit” came out, and the Summer of 94, when “Juicy” was released. According to Mister Cee, Biggie was in between deals with Uptown and Bad Boy at this time and living off cheques from guest appearances.

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[Verse 3: Chief Keef] I Don't Like by Kanye West (Ft. Big Sean, Chief Keef, Jadakiss & Pusha T) 1

Chief Keef laid down his verse while on house arrest at his grandmother’s house. The sound engineer uploaded footage of the session to YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yzO2tPujdw

He also provided some background on the recording process. Apparently Keef wrote the verse in record time.

I get to the house… and Chief Keef didn’t have his verse written yet… I thought to myself “Oh man! We’re going to be here for a while.” Just as I sit down and get comfortable, he’s already done writing his verse. It took him literally 3 minutes.

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