Sasha Frere-Jones Leaves the New Yorker For Rap Lyric Annotation Website
According to reports, long-time New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones is leaving the magazine to join Genius, an annotation website with generous VC funding and a vast database of rap lyrics.
Genius—formerly known as Rap Genius—raised $40 million last year while expanding its lyrics collection to include a variety of texts ranging from the musical to the literary to the homicidal. To that end, Genius's remaining cofounders tell the Times they've also hired New Yorker contributor Christopher Glazek to annotate political texts.
The Times reports Frere-Jones is coming to the website as an executive editor, where he'll have leave and presumably a sizable budget to hire three or four people with "skills...rooted in journalism" to work under him in as-yet unspecified roles. According to the Times, he's looking forward to the cushy life of annotations:
Mr. Frere-Jones, 47, said that he chose to leave The New Yorker after 11 years for a variety of reasons. He originally became a critic, he said, because he was frustrated that so many of those who wrote about music were ignorant of its nuances. Genius's tool addresses that, he said, but unlike crowd-sourced information on Twitter or Facebook, which is rapidly superseded, Genius's snippets remain easily visible forever.
"And I'll be honest," he said. "I don't want to stay up until 4 a.m. any more at shows, and you can annotate lyrics during the day."
Frere-Jones also tells the Times his new role will include marketing the site and recruiting famous people in preparation for "that Twitter moment when suddenly the smart kids stop holding their noses up in the air and they take part, and it just improves."
[image via Wikipedia]