Top 5: The Hype Man
If there were any single piece of advice to quick success, it would be to take the simplest task and to do it better than anybody else(see: Twitter). Hip-hop itself started in a house party out in Brooklyn the Bronx some time ago with just a DJ rocking a party. Then the DJ said to himself, “I need more energy at my party while I spin” and thus was born the first hypeman: the emcee. Fastforward to today and the hypeman has become it’s own separate job title, notches below emcee but several parole hearings above weed-carrier. Some have used the position as a stepping stone to Jim Jonesian success, while others have become so good at it they’ve gone mercenary with their energy. These are the Top 5 hype men, then and now.
#5] Spliff Star
If you’ve ever even just listened to a Busta Rhymes track, you would think that it would be redundant to need a hype man. One of the craziest flows ever in hip hop (closest competition–see #4), it seems impossible to find somebody that could bring even MORE energy to the stage. Enter Spliff Star.
Spliff’s been with Busta since nearly the beginning, and has become as critical a part of his live show as “Woo Hah.” He’s set to release a solo project in the coming months, but it’s doubtful he’ll ever really leave Busta’s side.
#4] Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Now I could catch a lot of shit for putting ODB on this list considering he had a successful run on his own as an emcee, but lets not forget the chambers that he came from. If a semi-thick girl surrounds herself with anoroexic chicks, she’s gonna look like Starr Jones, and the same principle is in effect in terms of the Wu. With Raekwon, GZA, RZA, GFK & Meth, you better be bringing something to the table aside from lyricism. And Dirt McGirt brought this to the table:
He was nuts, and to receive the kind of admiration he does posthumously says a lot about Big Baby Jesus…the Old Dirty Chinese Restaurant, Joe Bananas, Russell Jones. The Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
#3] Fatman Scoop
Fatman Scoop might be one of the most successful hype men still active today. Just look at all the people’s tracks he’s gotten to yell over. He’s so good at what he does, he takes his show for hire. HE’S A HYPE MAN MERCENARY! You need a party to really pop off? Get Scoop. You need a legitimately mixed mixtape to be hosted? Fatman Scoop & Scoop & Scoop. And unlike somebody else on our list, his TV show doesn’t promote the passing of herpes OR syphillis. I’m not saying to go out of your way or anything to see Scoop, cause lets keep it real, going to see a show just for Scoop would be like pouring a big-ass bowl of Lucky Charms just to eat the marshmallows. What I am saying is that if it comes down to going to a party hosted by FmS or doing something else, f*** something else.
#2] Big Ali
He might not be the biggest household name over here in the US, but trust me, Big Ali has the hype man game down to a science. Bellowing voice, insane energy, happy fat guy charm, it’s all in there. What seperates him from the herd? He takes the hype man job way further outside of just hip-hop. Fatman Scoop has the Crooklyn Clan, Big Ali rolls with the VinylSquad, pumping out every kind of remix imaginable. Jumping on a rising US artist’s mixtape? Listen to this track. Its crucial. And it’s in french.
Damn, that beat is vicious. Big Ali isn’t even scared to jump on a Bob Sinclar track, and by making picks like those, he’s gotten the hype man game cornered around the world.
#1] Flavor Flav
Forget all the “I Love…” shows. Forget the UPN sitcoms. Forget all the crack-fueled nights and the numerous children with numerous mothers. Flavor Flav wouldn’t have been famous at all had it not been for his original job: hype man for Public Enemy. Not only was Flav one of the first to “legitimize” the hype role, he was critical in forming one of the best live shows along with Chuck D, let alone records.
No conversation about the hype man would be legitimate without Flavor Flav. What else could you get but raw energy when you combine a big-ass clock chain, gold grills and the bone structure of the Crypt Keeper? Forget the commercial bastardization in front of you today (dude has to get his paper somehow, more power to him). Flavor Flav was and always will be the Greatest Hype Man of All-Time.