Hype man

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Hype man Relione (right) performing with rapper Chef Sean

A hype man, in hip hop music and rapping, 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. The hype man’s interjections are also planned to give the MC an opportunity to breath, and give the illusion of an unbroken flow[1][2][3][4][5][6] Music writer Mickey Hess expands the term as follows: "a hype man is a figure who plays a central but supporting role within a group, making his own interventions, generally aimed at hyping up the crowd while also drawing attention to the words of the MC".[7]

Discussing the role of the hype man in the book How to Rap, Royce da 5'9" describes how a hype man can contribute to a live performance: "a lot of my verses [can] be so constant with the flow [that] I'd need somebody to help me."[8] Lateef the Truthspeaker has stated, "You're gonna have to have somebody say something somewhere to give you a breath... usually it's just a matter of getting somebody to hit some line or some word in a line—that's all you really need."[8]

Origins[edit]

Early hip hop hype men included Cowboy and Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.[1][7] Kool Moe Dee calls Creole “the original hype man”.[9]

American rapper Flavor Flav hyping up a crowd in May 2008

A well-known example was Public Enemy's hype man Flavor Flav, who established many of the conventions of the craft, such as an outlandish style (for example, by wearing large clocks around his neck) and a vocal style that contrasted dramatically with that of the MC (his rasping high voice was a counterpoint to Chuck D's booming baritone).[citation needed]

Jay-Z began his career as a hype man for Jaz-O[10][11] and was later the hype man for Big Daddy Kane.[12]

Examples[edit]

Examples of hype men include Freaky Tah of the Lost Boyz, Memphis Bleek for Jay-Z, and Proof and Mr. Porter of D12 for Eminem.[7] Icons of Hip Hop also notes that some producers, such as Diddy, Lil Jon, Swizz Beatz, and Jermaine Dupri, "have transitioned from a hype man role to become rappers and stars in their own right".[7]

Occasionally pop or rock groups include a member up front alongside the lead singer who may perform backup vocals or percussion but largely functions to excite the audience through dancing and/or stage patter. Examples include Bob Nastanovich for Pavement,[13] Bez of The Happy Mondays[14] and Guy Picciotto in Fugazi's earliest incarnation.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Hilltop - The Role of The 'Hype Man' In Hip-Hop". Thehilltoponline.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  2. ^ Barrett, Grant, 2006, The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English, McGraw-Hill Professional, p. 182.
  3. ^ Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 176.
  4. ^ Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 304.
  5. ^ "Kool Moe Dee". Thafoundation.com. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  6. ^ "Record Executives Thought Jay-Z Was No Good » MTV Newsroom". Newsroom.mtv.com. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  7. ^ a b c d Hess, Mickey, 2007, Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 176.
  8. ^ a b Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 304.
  9. ^ "Kool Moe Dee". Thafoundation.com. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  10. ^ "Record Executives Thought Jay-Z Was No Good » MTV Newsroom". Newsroom.mtv.com. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  11. ^ Vibe magazine, Jan 2004, Vol. 12, No. 1, published by Vibe Media Group, p. 75.
  12. ^ Jonathan Cunningham (2007-03-15). "Kane's Domain - Page 1 - Music - Broward/Palm Beach - Broward-Palm Beach New Times". Broward/Palm Beach. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  13. ^ Alex Pappademas (2012-06-20). "'It Hasn't Been a Disaster: Indie-rock legend Bob Nastanovich on Pavement, the Silver Jews, and horse racing. But not in that order". Retrieved 2017-01-22.
  14. ^ Staff (2012-02-09). "Music's 10 Greatest Hype Men". Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  15. ^ Nathan Leigh (2011-05-18). "Public Enemy: The Forgotten Innovators of Post-Hardcore". Retrieved 2017-01-09.