What Does Rap Genius Have Against Warren Buffett?

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 22 2013 2:55 PM

What Does Rap Genius Have Against Warren Buffett?

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Warren Buffett, possibly working on a diss track. Or maybe giving a speech.

Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for FORTUNE

Yesterday morning, Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam initiated a bizarre feud with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, tweeting, from the @rapgenius handle (a small warning, by the way, that foul language in all caps is coming up): “WARREN BUFFETT CAN SUCK MY DICK.” Slinging offensive tweets at well known people is nothing new, but when it comes from one of the creators of a hugely popular website fresh off a $15 million venture capital investment, people tend to pay attention.

A few hours later, Moghadam announced a Warren Buffett diss track contest on Rap Genius for users interested in posting original lyrics badmouthing the 82-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. The winner will receive a Rap Genius t-shirt. (I guess $15 million doesn’t go as far as it used to.) Chide Mark Zuckerberg all you want for his shlubby fashion sense, but Moghadam seems to have taken the eccentric tech entrepreneur to an awkward new level.

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Nitasha Tiku at BetaBeat published a comprehensive article about the strange vendetta, including a gchat interview with Moghadam, who says of Buffett, “from a philosophical perspective I hate that fool…he brags about eating at mcdonalds [sic] I loathe him.” Moghadam’s hate, it turns out, originated a few years ago, when Berkshire Hathaway withdrew an internship offer from Moghadam after discovering a blog post that belittled one of their clients. Buffett is also, as Moghadam mentions, friends with the mother of his ex-girlfriend, which may or may not have something to do with how he got the internship in the first place.

The contest smells like a PR stunt, but the bad blood seems genuine. Some commenters have taken to the message boards to defend Buffett for supporting higher taxes for the rich. Others have lambasted Moghadam for being a “bad publicity troll.” There are just a few entries in the diss-track contest so far, all of which are poor. Here’s one, courtesy of a Rap Genius commenter who goes by the name jewlove: “the wizard of Omaha? Ha ha/ Creating economic blizzards/ and a buzzard feasting off the cadavers/ of the common folk, with geico.” Somewhere underground, Tupac and B.I.G. are spinning in their graves.

Is this the first hip-hop beef Buffett has ever been tangentially involved in? As far as I can tell, yes—though he does show up in rap lyrics from time to time. He hasn’t responded yet, presumably because he’s too busy acquiring H.J. Heinz Co., leveraging the ketchup company, and generally being a classy, likable guy. But if Buffet does reply, I’d recommend that he ask Jamie Dimon to be his hype man and lobby Ben Bernanke to officiate a rap battle to raise money for charity.

Moghadam may think he’ll get some credit from hip-hop fans for being brash enough to set this crazy contest in motion, but, lest we forget, he’s competing with the guy who threw up the diamond sign at the opening of Jay-Z’s 40/40 club. If you don’t know, now you know.

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