Genius Co-Founder Mahbod Moghadam Passes Away at 41

by Aaron C. Williams

The Moghadam Family shared this image along with a public obituary for the Genius community in April of 2024.

Rest in Peace & Power to Mahbod Moghadam
(November 1982–March 2024)
co-founder of RapGenius and a true genius in his own right.

Mahbod (or, as he was known on Genius, “Maboo”) was an eccentric figure in the modern music ethos and a brilliant man who I regret to say I never had the pleasure of meeting in-person, but was fortunate to have had many inspiring conversations with over the years. For someone whose hand I had never shaken, he had an oddly profound impact on my life.

I’m not sure how we ended up on each other’s radar, other than through our involvement with Genius of course, but we ended up becoming Facebook friends and he was a beloved staple of my daily scroll thru Instagram; many of Maboo’s friends know that he loved to go live and play piano at all hours of the day or night. I would often tune in and just let Maboo orchestrate the soundtrack to my life—Bach was his favorite, but I recall renditions of Mozart and Beethoven as well as other legendary composers.

I once asked Maboo if he would be so kind as to play piano on my album. I offered to compensate him for his contribution, if he would be so inclined. Not only did he agree to be featured, but he declined any payment. Sadly, this never came to pass, but—sheesh—when they say it’s the thought that counts… this is a prime example. Perhaps one day I might pursue permission to sample some of his playing, because he was truly virtuosic, often performing entire classical pieces from memory.

I once asked him if he would give me piano lessons. He said: “Just learn the notes dogg! Learn Bach ‘Well Tempered Clavier’ the first song is hella easy…”

And this, for me, sums up his commitment to colloquial language and his do-it-yourself attitude. He was there to offer advice, to offer encouragement, to offer up a comedic adage or two, but we hold the ultimate power at the end of the day—the power of our own freewill and creativity. He truly embodied these characteristics.

I knew Mahbod was sick, but I don’t think any of us really knew the extent of it; we certainly didn’t expect him to go so soon. We never do, do we?

Mahbod was there for me when my mother was dealing with cancer, and as some might be aware, I was and am still dealing with a “stalker” harassing me on the very site that Mahbod helped to create: Genius—the biggest lyric platform in the world. I was having serious thoughts about suing Genius because of their overall negligence at the time, so Maboo gave me his phone number and offered some consultation on the matter. I ultimately decided to let it go, but these talks were instrumental in helping me come to terms with what was happening and to keep things in perspective.

Once again, it seems Mahbod is helping me do just that: keep things in perspective. Here was a man who had famously been forced to resign from his own brainchild (arguably one of the first notable instances of cancel culture), a man suffering from a brain tumor, willing to take time out of his busy schedule to talk me off a ledge while my own mother was dying from a cancerous tumor and I was threatening legal action against the very company Maboo was embroiled in a lawsuit with as well. The irony was palpable. We laughed it off. We hung up the phone. That would be the last time I heard his voice.

Moral of the story?

Not sure, to be quite honest. Just make sure you call your friends and loved ones more often. Make sure they know how much you appreciate them. Some things are cliché for a reason—because they’re true. There’s no doubt in my mind that Maboo’s legacy, much like hip-hop itself, will live on forever. For now, I’ll leave you with one of his favorite Kanye quotes that I believe poignantly sums up his spirit:

“I’ll do a hundred reps of controversy for a 6-pack of truth…”

For the full Moghadam Family obituary posted on CLICK HERE.

About Aaron C. Williams 25 Articles
Senior Editor — Aaron Williams is an artist, writer, and producer from Southern California.

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