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How Rap Genius is Helping Government Transparency

Rap Genius, the website where users annotate lyrics from popular songs, poetry, literature, and news events, has picked up some serious steam since it was founded by three friends at Yale.

While the founders might have a reputation for saying all sorts of crazy s#!t, they do seem to be moving closer to one of their “outrageous” claims: that they would soon be the world’s biggest website.

During a chat with Fusion at The Atlantic’s Start-Up City: Miami event, co-founder Ilan Zechory dropped a little knowledge on us that would make their site not only an integral part of the internet, but a vital piece of our democracy.

A few days before, Zechory had been in D.C., where he trained about 200 employees from federal government agencies. Using the Rap Genius software, these agencies are able to annotate and simplify the jargon-filled language of their websites and official documents. Essentially, Rap Genius has partnered with the federal government to treat the agencies like Verified Artists who annotate and comment on their own music. All annotations are embeddable on any website, including the federal government’s official sites.

The General Services Administration and the United States Geological Survey already have their official accounts up and running. This development means that with time, the federal government might get close to actually living up to the Plain Language guidelines they set forth in 2011. Yes, please.

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