disRESPECT: Rap Genius Mocks Chief Keef

[ED. NOTE:] Rap Genius has since retitled this video “CHIEF KEEF rolls through RAP GENIUS.” Which was the right thing to do. C-section trolls, remember, this issue ain’t about Rap Genius’s legitimacy so much as its foray into the world of PR, where buzz and hits are dollars and cents. Maybe that point wasn’t expressed so clearly. But making fun of Chief Keef (read: beating a dead horse) was a low stoop.

Rap Genius‘s sophistry has reached unprecedented levels. Though the site’s mission to explain rap lyrics is ostensibly admirable and simple, the site has repeatedly disrespected hip-hop culture by offering unequivocal explanations of poetry. These “final” (read: pretentious) explanations limit the meanings of songs and support the fiction that all rap lyrics actually have a meaning in the first place.

Attempting to crack The Meaning of some Chief Keef songs, Rap Genius brought the precocious Chicago native into their offices and asked him to give them some explanations of some of his songs. Rap Genius uploaded a video of the interaction, in which Keith is clearly not comprehending how the site works, taking a page from Media Takeout’s playbook by titling it “Chief Keef Gets TOO HIGH to Explain his Lyrics on Rap Genius.” In the video, surrounded by Rap Genius employees and filmed by the shakiest camera of all time, Chief Keef is presented as an idiot.

The real idiots are the folks at Rap Genius. Being high had nothing to do with Chief Keef’s lack of explanation. Let’s be real: Chief Keef doesn’t give a damn about wordplay. Even if he did, wordplay is only one aspect of hip-hop. Tone, mood, rhythm, cadence, flow and a million other things are just as important as the actual ABCs. By posting this video, Rap Genius tried to cover up the underlying silliness of its mission, but ended up exposing it even further. Rap is more than lyrics and it’s definitely more than geniuses fools attempting to explain it. Chief Keef smokes a lot (a lot of rappers do), but at least he can still function. Whatever the people at Rap Genius are smoking, it’s definitely interfering with their understanding of rap. Sober up, motherfuckers.

  • Me Myself and I

    Um…he still could have been able to explain, however simply, the lines he wrote. Because they are words, words s have meaning, and so even if they mean something silly, silly songs exist. Whatever. lol

  • I would like to see an entire site dedicated to Childish Gambino attempting to break down Chief Keef’s lyrics.

  • You seemed to have missed the point. The lyrics could have been “explained,” but that doesn’t justify Rap Genius passive-aggressively mocking Chief Keef by posting that video. And the bigger point is that yes, words do have meaning, but when words are accompanied by rhythm, and cadence and an instrumental, that meaning is infinitely multiplied. Thus, distilling rap down to just words is silly and dumb. Imagine an art website that claimed that color was the most important aspect of all visual art. Sounds dumb, right? Well that’s rap genius.

  • Tizzle

    I would like to see where they state that lyrics are the most important part of hip-hop. You sound like YOU have missed the point. I partially agree with this article in that not all rap music can be explained. For example, what is he supposed to say about “A fuck nigga, that’s that shit I don’t like”? Everything is explained within the line. However, you guys have the entire goal of the website misconstrued. RapGenius is as much the messiah of hip-hop as KanyeToThe or any other hip-hop forum. Because in the end, that’s all it is. It’s a forum where people can explain rap lyrics, and even when somebody is only using the site to explain lyrics, it’s still a forum. Many explanations on RG have actually been confirmed as wrong by the artists themselves, but it hasn’t stopped them. That’s because you’re all missing the fundamental idea behind RapGenius, which is -speculating- what lyrics mean and not giving -absolutely definitive- answers. You all seem very biased and generally unintelligent to me, but I could be wrong since that’s purely SPECULATION.


  • i’m confused. so you’re upset at Rap Genius because Chief Keef couldn’t give not one explanation to any of the lines in his own damn song? what does “not giving a damn about wordplay” have to do with explaining your own lyrics? actually, Respect (and Mr. Kearse), you guys are the ones actually looking a bit idiotic.

  • Rap Genius is a community of knowledge, artists have accounts too.. do you think Nas’ explanations are stupid? http://rapgenius.com/nas

  • Rap Penius

    Tizzle –

    The difference between RapGenius and KTT is how they are used. You’re right — a forum is a wonderful place for discussion and commentary and back-and-forth, etc. RapGenius, though, is not a forum. It presents itself as indubitably as a lyrics site does — “here are the lyrics” — but with a prescriptive exegesis — “here is what they mean.”

    True, RapGenius isn’t gonna stop anytime soon. But this Chief Keef video shows how touristically they treat hip-hop. It’s music, people!

    Also, for more, start here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/magazine/lady-mondegreen-and-the-miracle-of-misheard-song-lyrics.html?pagewanted=all

  • Rap Penius

    Are they a savvy PR move? Absolutely.

    Are they stupid? You decide.

  • Tizzle

    I wouldn’t consider it a prescriptive exegesis though. Like I said, RG isn’t about saying exactly what the lyrics mean, it’s about speculating and giving listeners some sort of insight into their meaning. And for the most part, they do a pretty exceptional job of that. Many odd references have been decoded by RapGenius, but people seem to allude to the fact that they make mistakes as a way to completely dismantle the foundation of the site when in reality they’re only reinforcing the ideals behind it. Lyrics, and especially those in hip-hop music, can be hugely misinterpreted and purely out of their love for the art they put the effort into decoding these lyrics for free just so people can know what they mean.

    I understand if you don’t use the site, whatever. I just don’t see how people can demonize it as if it’s doing something so radically different and regressive to hip-hop music. The principles behind RapGenius exist in the minds of EVERYBODY who listens to music for its lyrical substance, they’re just bringing it to the light.

    But again, to each his own. This just comes across as petty and a low-blow to the website for no apparent reason.

  • Rap Penius

    @Tizzle – It doesn’t matter what RG is “about.” The issue is how it’s used. Anyways, the issue here is their mockery of Chief Keef. Silly, sensational YouTube videos — is that what they’re “about”?

  • Tizzle

    Mockery? They brought his ass into their HQ and SMOKED HIM OUT! And it’s not a “sensational” YouTube video. In fact, most people really don’t give a fuck. Respect (btw, didn’t know you guys existed) just made this article to draw attention. There really is no story here. He was obviously high as hell, and since then he’s probably watched the video and laughed about it. It seems like this “magazine” is more interested in defending Chief Keef than he is.

  • MissR

    Can’t really decide if you are just trolling or actually are that stupid and biased…

  • DatGuyDownTheRoad


  • This article shows exactly whats wrong with the hip hop community. Sometimes mocking someone is done with out disrespecting the person. The rap genius folks added that video to give us fans something different. I am 100% sure that if he or his mangers felt disrespected the rg folks would take it down real quick. as a community we need to support each other before the music industry respects us period! I respect all opinions but this was a little far fetched,

  • unkyoka

    ok im back to being tired of rap again. fuck all of you

  • kankerr

    fuck you

  • ThatNJ

    But Chief Keef IS an idiot… that’s what you’re missing. His media relations skills are a joke, and he’s a straight up asshole. Then again, this site looks like it sucks Kanye’s dick and whatever else he touches, so of course they would enjoy Chief Keef.

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  • Rapgenius.com is a good lyrics site and the explanations are usually funny or informative