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Kendrick Lamar and Drake Feud Was 'Like the NBA Finals' for This Lyrics Website| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Cole Swain was checking his phone one morning before school last week when he received an alert from YouTube. It was 8:24 a.m. in Los Angeles, where Mr. Swain is a college student and Kendrick Lamar had just been released.”Euphoria”, a highly anticipated song aimed at Drake in the escalating feud between the two rappers.

When Mr. Swain's group chats and social media exploded, he logged on to Genius, a website where users can transcribe and annotate lyrics to help explain their meaning. Swain, a volunteer editor for the site and a Lamar fan, was ready to dig deeper into the track.

But apparently Genius was not prepared for Mr. Swain and the crowd of visitors. After nearly two weeks of silence following Drake's history of dissent, Lamar's response on April 30 generated a large amount of traffic to Genius, prompting temporarily crash just as fans were clamoring to pore over what the artist had to say.

“This is crazy,” Swain, a 19-year-old studying bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, remembers thinking. “Everyone tries hard to write the lyrics as much as everyone wants to read them.”

The feud between Lamar and Drake reached dizzying speed over the weekend, with both musicians exchanging songs full of hard hits. All the time in Genius, a small collaborative corner On the Internet, created for music lovers, users like Swain worked furiously to deconstruct the songs as the hype around the releases exploded.

While many lyric websites include only song transcriptions, Genius is a Wikipedia-like site that allows users to break down complex lyrics, connect the dots to previous songs, and provide historical context.

from a user been on site, determined in part by the quality and quantity of their activity, grants them different privileges, such as the ability to approve or reject other users' annotations. Editors like Mr. Swain are not paid; The platform is a hobby.

Big releases always cause some chaos, but the broadsides between Lamar and Drake have attracted an unusual level of attention. Editors, moderators, administrators and others scrambled to deliver the right lyrics with smart, sophisticated notes to thousands of followers in real time. Genius list of the 10 most viewed songs this week was dominated Wednesday by Lamar and Drake's string of diss tracks: “Euphoria” had garnered more than seven million views on the site since its April 30 release, according to Genius.

“It's like the NBA Finals,” said Jalin Coleman, 21, who edits under the username @spillretro and uses the pronoun “they.” They added: “There is that extra pressure.”

There are also schoolwork and jobs. Max. Coleman, a senior studying creative writing and communications at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, often works simultaneously on notes and assignments.

“I can't concentrate on my task when I know this is happening,” Mx. Coleman said. “I end up putting it off because I want to be a part of this.” (No homework was late or class missed, they said.)

Ian, who edits under the Genius username @ibmac26 and asked that only his first name be used for privacy reasons, helped transcribe “Like That,” a song released by Atlanta rapper Future and producer Metro Boomin in March which featured a surprise appearance. of Lamar and accelerated the dispute with Drake. He also worked on the lyrics of “Meet the Grahams,“released Friday night an hour after Drake”Family matters.

“It seems like either of them can throw another punch at any moment, and anticipating what will be said next isn't even worth it,” Ian said.

Jonathan Goens is a Lamar fan who had been waiting for his Drake tracks. “Especially after the things Drake asked for on 'Taylor Made Freestyle,'” Goens, 32, said, referring to Drake's song in which he attacked Lamar using AI voice filters to imitate rappers Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.

Goens uses Genius to study the lyrics of surprise releases, particularly when artists don't include them with the songs, and to reflect on his own analysis through other users' comments. He turned to the website for help selecting “Euphoria.”

“I was curious to see if things that I thought had a deeper meaning could have another meaning, if there were things he was saying that I couldn't see at all,” said Goens, a forklift driver. Goens said he was shocked to see Genius fall. He continually updated the site with no luck, so he spun “Euphoria” a few more times until the website was up and running again.

“The fact that he was down illustrated to me how big it was for so many people to see an artist like Kendrick Lamar respond,” he said.

Ian said there were other times the website crashed, including in 2022, after Lamar released his studio album “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers” and in April after Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” arrived. But it's rare for a single song to crash the site, he added. Representatives for Genius or its parent company, MediaLab, could not be reached for comment.

Both Lamar and Drake continued to release several songs after “Euphoria,” but the barrage has stalled since Drake’s release of “The Heart Part 6” on Sunday night.

Swain plans to take a break from his job as an editor; His roommate has been making fun of how much time he's been spending on Genius lately, he said.

Unless, of course, Lamar takes a victory lap and drops another clue, Swain added. That would surely get him off the bench.

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