Average Homeboy

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Average Homeboy (also known as Denny Blaze and Denny Blazin Hazen) is the creation and alter ego of Cleveland-based AV artist Denny Hazen.[1]

Hazen (as Blazin Hazen, a self-proclaimed "Suburban White Rapper") was the subject of a 1989 demo tape that mysteriously appeared on YouTube in 2005,[2] and achieved viral video status in a relatively short time, largely for its notoriety as a poster child of 1980s kitsch.[citation needed]

Average Homeboy polarized viewers and critics, who were divided between praising the inherent entertainment value of a sincere, clean-cut teenager in 1980s attire attempting to rap, and denouncing the excesses of the era, absurdity of the rap, and ineptitude of its star, yet it garnered the attention of several prominent news & infotainment entities, including TIME[3] and VH1,[4] as well as men's culture magazine Complex, who, in a 2011 article, included it in its list of the 100 Best Viral Videos of the 2000s.[5]

Background[edit]

In 1989, Hazen, with the aid of self-purchased synthesizers and AV equipment, recorded, filmed, and edited Average Homeboy (where, as 'Blazin Hazen', he rapped about life as a clean-cut suburbanite who didn't fit urban stereotypes), then sent a VHS copy to MTV, who reportedly shelved it in the same storage area as the thousands of other self-submitted recordings they had received, over the years.[6] In 2005, the video was uploaded to YouTube by 'K-Maxx' (who claimed to be an MTV employee),[7] and as its popularity skyrocketed, it came to the attention of Hazen (who, by then, was in his mid-thirties, and successfully employed in behind-the-scenes radio and television production in the Cleveland/Akron area).[8]

Hazen reclaimed his property, and ultimately embraced his new-found fame, reuploading Average Homeboy to YouTube in 2006, [9] along with other earlier efforts (including Blazin Hazen,[10] a video he submitted to MTV months prior to Average Homeboy, and Like a Seagull[11]), and brand new ones (including White as Rice, [12] Black Men Can't Swim, [13] and a remixed version of Average Homeboy[14]), and continues to produce and record as 'Denny Blaze' to this day.

Hazen's popularity, as Blaze,[15] grew to where he received (and continues to receive) numerous invitations to attend music and internet culture-related venues and gatherings across the country, including the NY Music Festival at Madison Square Garden in 2006, [16] ROFLCon 2008 (an internet meme convention in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he appeared with other live musical acts of similar origin, including Group X, Leslie Hall, Lemon Demon, and Trocadero), [17][18][19] He has been a fixture on various internet culture programs, both on television and online, including CollegeHumor,[20] G4 TV's Attack Of The Show,[21] and Tosh.0 (as the subject of one of Daniel Tosh's 'Web Redemptions').[22]

Present day[edit]

Apart from his appearances, and the continued production of original music, on March 8, 2014, Hazen posted a self-financed documentary short on his alter ego's origins and journey to internet fame.[8][23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stipe, Zach. "Once lost demo vaults rapper to Internet fame". Vindy. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Kane, Dan. "Unexpected fame continues for 'Average Homeboy'". Canton Rep. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ Friedman, Megan. "Top 10 YouTube Train Wrecks". TIME. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Greatest> Ep. 72, 40 Greatest Internet Superstars". VH1. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ "The 100 Best Viral Videos of the 2000s". Complex. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "PROPPED: Average Homeboy". VH1's Best Week Ever. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ Rubin, Daniel (July 22, 2006). "Blinq: Unsung rapper blazes across blogosphere". The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required). Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "'Average Homeboy' is Back in Action in New Documentary". RightThisMinute. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  9. ^ Denny Blaze (2006). Average Homeboy. YouTube. 
  10. ^ Denny Blaze (2006). Blazin Hazen. YouTube. 
  11. ^ Denny Blaze (2007). Like a Seagull. YouTube. 
  12. ^ Denny Blaze (2009). White as Rice. YouTube. 
  13. ^ Denny Blaze (2010). Black Men Can't Swim. YouTube. 
  14. ^ Denny Blaze (2009). Average Homeboy Smooth Remix. YouTube. 
  15. ^ "A Candy Exclusive: The '40 Greatest Internet Superstars'". Content.usatoday.com. 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  16. ^ Denny Blaze (2006). Denny Blaze Performs Live at NY Music Festival. YouTube. 
  17. ^ "My ROFLCon Weekend: Breakfast with Tron Guy". Npr.org. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  18. ^ Caitlin E. Curran (2008-04-29). "LOL in the family - Live Reviews". Thephoenix.com. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  19. ^ "Denny Blaze, The Average Homeboy Himself, Joins Kevin & Bean « The World Famous KROQ". Kroq.cbslocal.com. 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  20. ^ "CollegeHumor: Average Homeboy Remix". The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required). July 22, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ "ROFLCon Videos". G4tv.com. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  22. ^ "Web Redemption: The Average Homeboy". Tosh.0. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ Denny Blaze (2014). The Average Homeboy Movie. YouTube. 

External links[edit]