Tate Talk 2017 #4: All Eyes On the Tates 👀

Hi everyone!

It’s been a wild time for music lately. There have been so many big releases, sometimes coming all on the same day. With even more music on the way and tons of new dope editors emerging, I think now’s a good time for us to circle back to some useful points of consideration that we can be aware of as we’re out there hammering away dope annotations.

So, here are some things to keep in mind:

– Everyone On the Internet, From Twitter to the Biggest News Outlets in the World, Is Eyeing Your Tates

It might not seem like it in the moment, but the internet and journalism world (music and otherwise) are interested in your annotations! Recently, marie claire—and even CNN—cited information from our song pages about Taylor Swift, and Elle and Alternative Press both did pieces that were pretty much just copy/pasting information from annotations. Complex even reached out to @ojstrawberry for a direct quote because he’s the top XXXTENTACION scholar!

But if you think about it, it makes sense that the Genius Community would be a hot resource. @transcribers are fantastic at getting the lyrics for hot new songs up REALLY fast after they drop, so we’re often the first on the scene when it comes to digging up the knowledge behind the lyrics—and figuring out the song’s biggest memes. So it’s no surprise artists are instagramming your tates and music journalists are scouring them for juicy details they can toss in their articles and sometimes even crediting y’all for it.

Which is why it’s important to…


– Be Conscious About Sensitive or Uncertain Information

Being assertive in your tates is good when you can back up your claims, but if the song just dropped and you’re tating breaking info about the artist that hasn’t been proven yet, it’s key to be mindful of the language you’re using. The #1 thing to avoid is stating speculation as fact.

Let’s use this tate from the new Tyler, the Creator album as an example. Here’s how it originally read:

While the intention here is good, the tate was problematic because it made a definitive statement about Tyler’s sexuality at a time when he hadn’t made any statements about it. On top of that, there’s no context here to show us how this interpretation can be so definitive. Essentially, if you’re gonna make a big claim, you need big receipts!

Here’s an excerpt from the current version of the tate:

Check out the highlighted part here. This language construct allows us to openly address the topic without making any definitive statements about whether or not it’s true. Even in this case where we have a ton of context to back up the claim (everything following the highlighted part), it’s a BIG claim to make without information directly from the artist.

If you’re ever unsure whether or not you should use non-definitive language like this, chances are you should! It’s better to be safe than sorry—not only are you literally making an unsubstantiated claim, a publication might cite info from one of your tates and say, “according to Genius contributor ____,” and then if that information turns out to be wrong they can just deflect the blame.


– A Few Notes On Fact-Checking

A while back, @JohnGanz wrote a great Tate Talk about best research practices—definitely check it out here if you’ve never seen it before or want a refresher! Here’s a shortlist of some research tips that can help you source better and easier:

  • Wikipedia References

Every Wikipedia article has a “References” section that cites all the sources the editors used to write the article. These can often prove to be reliable for linking, or generally for learning more accurate info about the subject matter so you can write your tates better.

You can scroll down to the bottom of the Wikipedia page for a full sources list, but the best part about it is the superscripted links that correspond to various pieces of information throughout the article. For example, if @bigbabygoat-116 was on the Wikipedia page about the GOAT rap albums and wanted to learn more about Schoolly D’s 1985 project, he could click the little “21” superscript (pls excuse my terrible red circle):

…which would take him to the relevant linked source at the bottom of the page:

  • YouTube Video Transcripts

Many YouTube videos have transcripts, and while they’re not always the most accurate, they can be super useful for quickly finding relevant quotes in long videos—or really videos of any length. Click the three dots underneath the video title (ok I know my red circles are bad, please don’t roast me):

This will open up a panel to the right of the title with timestamped quotes that you can click to skip right to that part in the video:

  • CTRL/CMD + F

This one might seem obvious, but it’s a crucial tool for finding info quickly. If you end up on a massive article but you only care about a particular piece of it and you don’t have the time to read through the whole thing, you can just ctrl/cmd+F a relevant keyword and zoom straight to the part you want.

Maybe you only care about the part where they talk about the artist’s obsession with fish—ctrl/cmd+F “fish”! Maybe you only care about the quotes the artist provides—ctrl/cmd+F quotation marks! Or maybe you’re @butterscotch-pie and you’re on the Google Books preview of Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power but you want to skip right to Law 21—you get the picture.

That’s it!

What are your thoughts on using uncertain/sensitive language in tates? Have you seen someone on Twitter or a publication talking about your annotation?? As always, feel free to hit me up with any questions/concerns.

Reminder: anyone can make a Tate Talk! Who’s up next?
Previous 2017 Tate Talks: #1 | #2 | #3

@genius-editorial-board @new-release-squad

October 11th, 2017 | edited October 11th, 2017

We got a shoutout from Billboard in this article

5 Biggest Trump Takedowns in Eminem's CypherBillboard
Eminem's brutal freestyle rap slapdown of Donald Trump at the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards is dominating social media right now. And it's easy to see why. The Detroit rap legend pulls no punches and covers a tot of turf in his cypher "The Storm," from racism to white (or orange) male privilege, political distractions and nukes.

October 11th, 2017

Eminem's 'The Storm' Rap Lyrics About Donald Trump Revealed!Just Jared
Eminem 's freestyle rap in which he slams President Trump is going viral and you're probably looking for the lyrics, so we're bringing them to you here! The 44-year-old rapper's freestyle, which has reportedly been titled "The Storm," aired during the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards on Tuesday night (October 10).

October 11th, 2017

Great thread! I’m really loving all the recent press and I hope we’ll continue to see it.

Re: Wikipedia usage. The site’s music section severely lacks quality and citations. You’re generally better off looking for primary sources if you’re working on anything that could be considered old in one way or another. In addition, its priorities don’t lie with content—like ours does—but with the release and reception of music. While Wikipedia simply tries to rewrite sources, we’re allowed to interpret content if we can provide a good enough base and reasoning. On top of that, Wikipedia’s credits for writing, producing, and additional roles are known for being incomplete and/or incorrect (to be fair, we’re in a worse boat when it comes to writing credits).

October 11th, 2017

@Empath huh….YouTube has transcripts? Who knew? ;)

October 11th, 2017

@Dyazz good points! using wikipedia’s references section definitely isn’t the be-all and end-all of research/sourcing, but it can sometimes be a quick & efficient way to lead to better sources or expand your knowledge about the subject—which is especially useful if you’re new to tating!

yeahhh, shout-out @jbotting347 for telling me about the YouTube transcripts! life-changing stuff!

October 11th, 2017

Awesome! The wiki references list is def a help. There are tons of useful links down there.

October 11th, 2017

Great thread, especially for new editors who need to reference something directly.

October 11th, 2017

@Empath What’s up with your preference for 21’s?

Thanks for the YT transcription tip, I totally forgot that feature exists.

October 11th, 2017

@Lxender LOL I was hoping someone would notice

21, 21, 21

October 11th, 2017

To many 21’s for me and that’s a hella long day!n forum..how long did it take u to type this?

October 11th, 2017

@Emonomis2204 it’s been a work in progress for quite a while!

October 11th, 2017

This is great! Wikipedia is cool as long as it’s not your direct source. It’s all good if you find a reference on Wikipedia and then check to see if it’s accurate. Plus, it can be helpful when you’re doing research for older songs and albums and you don’t remember all the interviews and sources that could be useful.

October 11th, 2017

Wikipedia is a terrible resource from my point of view

October 11th, 2017

Holy shit, Complex reaching out to individuals is crazy.

October 12th, 2017 | edited October 12th, 2017

I’ve seen lots of editors cite Wiki as their sources in their annotations, hopefully they got the message now :)

October 12th, 2017