In January, Sasha Frere-Jones, the longtime music critic at the New Yorker, left the fabled magazine for a job at Genius (neé Rap Genius), the annotation website that sticks bad jokes next to your favorite rap lyrics. The honeymoon, though, appears to have been short: Frere-Jones recently moved from full-time to contract at the company to devote more time to other projects.
Frere-Jones said that he will still continue to interview artists and form those interviews into annotated pieces for Genius, but will now be able to work on a book and write more freelance passion pieces—he recently had an article about the artist Yves Klein published in Departures magazine, exclusive to American Express platinum members.
“It’s not really that different,” Frere-Jones, who described the change in his role as mutually agreed upon, said in a phone interview this afternoon. “It’s a logistical thing.”
Still, what was assumed to be a landmark victory for the general forces of new media in their ongoing battle against paper stock and its attendant websites is, less than six months later, something far less than that. Frere-Jones, the biggest fish Genius could reel in, is now merely a freelance journalist who will make some amount of money conducting interviews for a lyrics website.
That, though, soon may change. Frere-Jones has discussed full-time work with at least one established media organization: Gawker Media, where he met with executive editor Tommy Craggs on May 12* about opportunities at the company.
Craggs had no comment on this report.