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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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Is Rap Music Talmudic?

Mahmod Moghadam, Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory, founders of Rap Genius.

Mahmod Moghadam, Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory, founders of Rap Genius.
Photo Credit: Based on image from shalomlife.com

No, rap music is not Talmudic. Rap music is the complete utter opposite of anything Talmudic.

In setting a new epitome for bad taste and judgment, the owners of the Rap Genius web site continue to describe it as the Talmud for rap.

To take a page out of rap music, let me say to Mahmod Moghadam, Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory, the founders/owners of Rap Genius, [expletive] you.

Rap music is profane. It claims to be profane. There is no doubt it is profane. Listen to it for ten minutes. It’s vile, misogynist, sexist, racist, violent and obscene.

On October 16, 2013 Shalom Life reported that RG is the, “‘Internet Talmud’ which continues to grow exponentially, attracting approx. 30 million monthly users around the world.” No, it is not the Talmud!

Shalom Life in Canada reported January 30, 2014, “Rap Genius Launches App for Mobile” opining that, “The Internet Talmud lives on.”

The RG web site claims to be the Talmud for rap lyrics, i.e., a place where commentaries expose the meaning of texts – not texts of the sacred Torah, as the Talmud and Midrash does, but texts of the utterly profane lyrics of rap music.

And three Jewish Guys are making piles of money off of the talents of hundreds of black musicians. Wow, very clever raising $15 million from Ben Horowitz of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. You guys are awesome Jews!

Oh, tough break when Google discovered that you were gaming their SEO algorithms. You quickly admitted that you “Effed up.” How gallant of you (after you were caught): “Google Squashes Rap Genius ‘Scheme’.

…Google discovered that Rap Genius was garnering successful results at search engine optimization – if you typed in the lyrics to any rap song, chances were rap genius would appear first – not because of its excellent technologies and millions of loyal fans; no, it appears the three dudes behind our beloved site were actually running a backlink scheme.

Tech expert John Marbach outlines how the scheme works exactly in a blog post from earlier this week; apparently bloggers were encouraged to insert backlinks to lyrics on Rap Genius for the new Justin Bieber album: Journals. Rap Genius promised to these bloggers that, in exchange, they would tweet a link containing these links, which optimizes SEO for all parties involved.

Google, however, looks down on such behavior as, besides being a tad unfair, leading to poor results for people using the search engine platform.

“We effed up,” wrote Rap Genius founders Ilan Zechory, Mahbod Moghadam (check out our exclusive interview with Moghadam here), and Tom Lehman…

You know, don’t tell anyone. I listen to rap music and admire the music and its utter chutzpah. That doesn’t mean I officially like it…

But please, please, please don’t keep calling Rap Genius, the “Internet Talmud”!

Visit The Talmudic Blog.

About the Author: Tzvee Zahavy is a triathlon swimmer, a competitive golfer, a prolific author of books on Judaism, a prize-winning professor with a PhD from Brown University, a compassionate rabbi with semicha from Yeshiva University, and a fun guy.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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