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Follow Up: 7 Links That Demonstrate RapGenius’s Connection To Digital African American Literary Scholarship

[By Kenton Rambsy]

On yesterday, I posted a list of “7 Ways that RapGenius Assists Digital African American Literary Scholarship.” Today, I decided to do
a follow up post to illustrate exactly what I meant by providing actual
examples on the RapGenius website. RapGenius’s crowd-sourced, multimedia platform helps users
to fuse social networking and online databases to create digital resources to study black writing.

  • When annotating Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential Acceptance
    Speech, over 30 users on RapGenius contributed to this process. After clicking
    on the link, scroll down the right hand side and look under the heading, “PROPS
    TO THE PEOPLE WHO EXPLAINED 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ACCEPTANCE SPEECH” to see a list
    of those who helped to explain the speech.
  • In Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego Trippin,” the first line is
    described using text, image, and video. The actual description makes use of a video
    clip from a 1991 episode of A Different World as well as a hyperlink to a
    Wikipedia article providing more information.

  • RapGenius awards its users points known as “Rap IQ.” Rap IQ encourages its readers to annotate more songs and texts to move up in
    ranking on the website.

  •  At the click of your fingertips, a user has access to
    complex poetic terms. These terms ranging from words such as “allegory” to “zeugma”
    help readers to clarify the importance of poetic devices.

  •  Possible explanations for the significance of poetic devices
    or spelling are made possible through crowd-sourced annotations. In this
    particular example, a few reasons for why Giovanni decided to spell Newark as “New/Ark”
    in her poem “Ego Trippin” are given.

  •  The website has a growing presence of texts by black
    writers. Here, you can browse through the poems by Langston Hughes that are on
    the website. The website provides a central location to access texts online.

  •  In “Ego Trippin,” Giovanni uses many historical references
    in her poem. The explanation provides further details to help contextualize the
    particular words and references of her poem. In this example, hyperlinks are provided that offer more
    information about the significance of “Hannibal” and “Rome” in the context of the poem.