The Agenda

A Profile of RapGenius

My only problem — and it’s a big one — with Devin Leonard’s profile of RapGenius and its colorful founders (who are friends of mine, I’m proud to report) is that he suggests that Cam’ron is Jamaican:

Lehman, Moghadam, and Zechory grew restless in the plum jobs each had landed after Yale. Three summers ago, Moghadam was crashing for a few weeks on the couch at his friends’ East Village pad. He and Lehman got into a spirited debate about the meaning of a line in the song, Family Ties, by Jamaican rapper Cam’ron: “80 holes in your shirt, there: your own Jamaican clothes.” Maghadam says: “I told him Cam’ron was simply talking about Rastas wearing tattered up clothes, like your clothes would look if you got shot up.” Lehman disagreed. To settle things, they decided to appeal to the wisdom of the crowd—and launched Rap Genius with Family Ties and two Jay-Z tunes. Soon a visitor to the site noted that Jamaicans wore mesh tank tops that were full of holes and suggested this was the best explanation.

This is insanity. Cam’ron, or “Killa Cam,” is from Harlem, not a violence-plagued Caribbean island known for its beautiful beaches and calypso rhythms. 

One of the scandalous facts Leonard did not disclose in his article is that the RapGenius founders are notorious for carrying enormous plastic jugs of water with them at all times, as they are addicted to hydration. 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

John Brennan’s Bad Behavior

My Bloomberg View colleague Eli Lake is right about this: "[W]hen Brennan uses his authority as a former CIA director to launch flimsy attacks on the president's legitimacy, he validates Trump's claim that the intelligence agencies are biased against him." Over the last two years the president's critics have ... Read More
White House

Bill Clinton Redux

Stormy Daniels could have stepped right out of the 1990s. She would have been a natural in a Bill Clinton scandal, and, in fact, all the same means would have been used against her. Donald Trump’s tactics in these cases are almost indistinguishable from the Clintons’. The effort to shut down the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

California’s Pro-Nuclear Renegade

If California’s upcoming gubernatorial race gets decided solely by money, Michael Shellenberger doesn’t have a chance. The latest campaign filings show that Shellenberger, an environmentalist from Berkeley, has about $37,000 in cash on hand. The frontrunner in the June 5 California primary, Lieutenant ... Read More

Encouraging Signs in Iraq

Last year, relations between the Iraqi central government and the Kurds reached what was possibly an all-time low when the Kurds held an independence referendum in which 93 percent of voters opted to secede. The timing was no coincidence: Iraqi forces had retreated from Kurdish territory in 2014 as the Islamic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Do Not Congratulate

Do you want some good news out of the gargantuan budget bill now making its way through Congress? Buried among the mountains of pork and assorted unmentionables, there is one random provision I really like. It requires the Congressional Research Service -- which does a huge amount of very valuable policy research ... Read More
Film & TV

Superannuated ‘Idol’

In the pilot episode of Fox’s American Idol, Simon Cowell defined the show’s thesis: “We are going to tell people who cannot sing and have no talent that they have no talent. And that never makes you popular.” The show’s producers and its three judges -- Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson -- kept ... Read More