Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Some Genius named Rick Rubin is annotating Kanye West, Beastie Boys, and others

Pop-Up Video for an era when nobody watches music videos on TV, Genius (formerly Rap Genius) has long been the Internet’s premier source for pounding all of the nuance and imagery out of Wu-Tang Clan lyrics. (“C.R.E.A.M. is an acronym for ‘Cash Rules Everything Around Me’ and has throughout the years become well-established slang for money.”) But the site is no longer the exclusive province of dudes whose girlfriends are sick of line-by-line dissections of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: Pitchfork reports that mega-producer Rick Rubin has joined Genius’ band of contributors, and he’s currently on an annotating tear, providing behind-the-scenes insight on “99 Problems,” Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt,” and even some songs that he didn’t work on.


Ever wanted to know Rick Rubin’s thoughts on “The Boxer”? Well here you go:

I want the sonic signature to be that of the band, not of the place. Unless it’s an unusual case, if the artist says, “for this song we want that sound.”

I saw a documentary about a Simon and Garfunkel song, it might have been “The Boxer.” They recorded it in a church, and they went specifically for the reverb of the room, and it sounds good.


How about a story that makes it sound like Slayer’s Reign In Blood destroyed the studio it was recorded in?

Reign In Blood was recorded in L.A. at a place that’s not there anymore.

Would Johnny Cash record a cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”?

It’s one of the songs where if Johnny was alive, we might try that one. It’s a weighty song.


Check out all of Rubin’s annotations on his Genius profile, where, as it has been long predicted, Rick Rubin will one day leave his imprint on the entire pop canon.

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