Hip-Hop Week | Def Jam Rapstar and My Hype Man Dreams



Hip-Hop Week continues on In Third Person! From Flava Flav to Migos, the hype man is an underrated role in a rapper’s crew. This is the story of how I got to live out my hype man dreams.


Like normal fans of hip-hop music, I’ve had dreams of being a rapper, producer, DJ, and breakdancer. But there’s another occupation in the world of hip-hop that I’ve always wanted to be that weirds people out every time I share this with them.

I’ve always wanted to be a hype man.

I’ve wanted to be the Flava Flav yelling, “********** you and John Wayne!”. Or in 90s terms, I wanted to be Puff Daddy, standing behind the Notorious B.I.G., punctuating his lines with chants of, “Whoo!” or, “Uh huh, yeah.” Or in modern times, I wanted to be one of the guys in Migos screaming, “Skrrt!”. My fascination with this role manifests itself in the car every time I drive. Sometimes, instead of singing or rapping along to a song, I’ll just ad lib over it. Even for songs that don’t make sense, I’ll do it. That scene in Carpool Karaoke where Migos is ad libbing over “Sweet Caroline”? That’s been my life for years, and I apologize to my wife for subjecting her to this every day.

A few years ago, during a night in with friends, I got to share my hype man talents to the world thanks to Def Jam Rapstar.

Def Jam Rapstar is a karaoke rap game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game focused strictly on rap, so you could keep the plastic instruments in the closet. One night, there was a gathering of friend’s at my then-girlfriend-now-wife’s parents’ house and we decided to give the game a go. We were using SingStar mics, so we already had two ready to go.

After a few songs, I decided to take the second microphone and just ad lib. At first, people were really confused as to what I was doing. But it didn’t take me long to win the crowd over with my improv ad libs. Maybe they didn’t even know what a hype man was or what they did before I did it. But now they know, and I hope they had as much fun as I did acting a fool.

Unfortunately, the opportunity for me to ad lib for an audience hasn’t arisen since. All of our video game instruments have long been buried in the nook under the stairs. That said, in a world where Twitch Sings exists, maybe I could make it a streaming thing. Still need someone to sing or rap through, so I can ad lib in the background. Jason? Mat? Jon? Kris? Rachel?

Anyone?


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