Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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  •  In “Ego Trippin,” Giovanni uses many historical references in her poem.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.

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