Rap Genius‘ shift from rap lyric website to all-purpose online annotation tool has been underway for a while, but now it’s unmistakable. As of recent days, the startup is now simply called Genius. It has also rolled out “embeddable annotations,” meaning any website can use Genius’ platform to let users hover over text and see more information (for instance, what “embeddable annotations” means). What’s more, as TechCrunch reports (via FACT), the remaining founders of the newly rechristened Genius say the business has received another $40 million in funding, valuing the company at $1 billion.
“Any text can be as layered, as allusive and cryptic, as worthy of careful exegesis as rap lyrics,” Genius co-founders Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory wrote in an announcement. “Thus, starting today, ‘Genius’ is the new name of the grand project, born from rap’s rib, to annotate the world — and of the platform and company we’re building to enable it.
The latest round of funding was reportedly led by venture capitalist Dan Gilbert — whose name you might better recognize as the owner of the National Basketball Association’s recently LeBron James-reunited Cleveland Cavaliers. Genius now has $56.8 million in investments, which it plans to use bringing on more employees.
The transformation of Rap Genius into Genius has not been without incident. In May, as The New York Times reported, co-founder Mahbod Moghadam was forced out after his annotation of the Santa Barbara, California, mass-shooting gunman’s manifesto sparked a public backlash. Earlier this year, the company apologized to Google after a rebuke from the Internet giant for manipulating search results. In recent months, Rap Genius also struck deals with the biggest music publishers after the National Music Publishers Association hit out at the site’s lyrics post as “blatantly illegal.”