Hype man(Wikipedia definition): A hype man in hip hop music is a backup rapper and or singer who supports the primary rappers with exclamations and interjections, and who attempts to increase the audience’s excitement with call-and-response chants.
As someone who is currently holding a battering ram in front of 40’s front door, I’m sure some of my readers who never owned a record player or knew a time when MTV primarily played music videos get tired of me bitching and moaning about the current state of Hip Hop. How far too many people who clutch microphones in front of adoring masses for a living treat lyricism as an Achilles heel. The way everything sounds like music you’d find in establishments that house half-naked women and unfulfilled potential. I even pine for the good old days when hardened, street-wise verbal craftsmen not only had back-up dancers – no one ever batted an eye if they occasionally decided to join in on the choreographed dance routine. Shit, I even miss hypemen.
Sure, I guess technically hype men still exist: In terms of some lacky, whose duties usually include getting girls, weed, and food for the artist in question – are chosen to stand on stage and clumsily scream random words in unison with the guy who signs his checks. But the hype man was once much more than that: Getting the crowd excited for the artist, sort of like a fluffer sans the risk of infection and constant questioning of life choices. The Hype man also had to know all of the artist’s lyrics backward and forward – for the accompaniment, to lesson the lyrical load if the artist had problems with breath control, and he or she acted like a human cheat sheet in case the rapper happened to momentarily forget their lyrics. Their primary goal was to make the MC look good, no matter what.
I was thinking about the role of the hype man a couple of weeks ago following the President’s first debate. I mean, the President having some pretty shitty surrogates is common knowledge at this point. For example look at the events surrounding the Healthcare Bill: Despite the President giving shitloads of speeches on the topic, he is often blamed for not promoting enough – even though damn near every Democrat at the time stood silent, tail tucked securing between their legs. But the behavior after the debate was a masters class on why Democrats lose. See, the thing about Republicans, to paraphrase Alec Baldwin in “Glengarry Glen Ross“, is that they are always closing. Mitt Romney could have passed out on stage during the first debate and it would have been spun as the amount of love he has for the American people overcoming him. Just look at their spin after the Biden/Ryan debate: Even though the perception is that Biden won the night – the constant drumbeat of complaints about the Vice President’s smiling, laughing, and interrupting got some serious traction. They are the perfect hype men. Making their guy look good no matter what.
After the first Presidential debate, you couldn’t tell Democratic surrogates and your standard lazy cable pundit apart, both acting as if the President had just wept uncontrollably in front of 51 million people. Liberals have this thing where they seem to expect to be patted on the back for speaking hard truths, proudly displaying their moral high ground boner as if anyone gives a shit. Go fuck yourselves I say. I mean, no one is saying that they had to act like the President gave a virtuoso performance – but for Christs sakes don’t feed into a narrative.(Let’s hope they actually do their fucking jobs after tonight’s debate.) The role of the surrogate should be about staying on message(Accompaniment), attacking Mitt Romney(lessening of the workload), and making your guy look good no matter what. The role of the political surrogate isn’t that much different than your garden variety Hip Hop hypeman.