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Sasha Frere-Jones leaving New Yorker to join [Rap] Genius (whose offices are inside 184 Kent)

Sasha Frere Jones

Sasha Frere-Jones, the longtime pop music critic for The New Yorker, has left the magazine to join Genius, a website mounting an ambitious expansion after starting as a forum for annotated rap lyrics online.

Mr. Frere-Jones will be an executive editor at Genius, two of its founders, Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman, said in an interview, with a focus on annotations of music lyrics. He will start this week.

Genius, which was originally called Rap Genius before changing its name last summer, has received $55 million of venture capital funding and broadened its mission beyond music to include restaurant menus and Shakespeare, among other texts.

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 Genius’s tool addresses that, he said, but unlike crowd-sourced information on Twitter or Facebook, which is rapidly superseded, Genius’s snippets remain easily visible forever.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.” [NY Times]

Look for Sasha walking down Bedford on his way to work. Genius’s offices are located inside the 184 Kent condo building in Williamsburg (between N. 3rd & N 4th). In 2013, Business Insider said it was one of the coolest places to work in NY (a lot has happened since 2013 though).

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