Music » Hot Pop

The hype man cometh

Lil Jon



As time goes on, the cacophony of political voices becomes more shrill and the nation's political leaders become increasingly unable to express themselves. Meanwhile, the fortunes of the once lowly hype man have become more robust. Comedian Alex Thomas says Lil Jon isn't a rapper -- he's the first hype man to make it big. And Flavor Flav, the original celebrity hype man, has his own must-see (or can't look) "reality" show.

It may be time to combine these two occupations for the greater good. By the time you read this the November election will already be in the books. But the aftershocks of Sen. George Allen's "Macaca moment" and Sen. John Kerry's failed attempt to place a dunce cap on President Palpatine will last through the next election cycle. But could these fumblers have been rescued with a hype man?

Most of today's pop performers sound great on the radio, but not so great live on MTV Spring Break or at the Grammys. They just don't sound as good on a huge live stage when they have to spit lyrics without the benefit of a studio mic or a breathing coach. The Game did it successfully two years ago at the BET awards when he came out with no backup dancers, no hype man and he rapped long and strong while holding his baby son in one arm (the Billy Clint of hip-hop?). But that's usually not what happens -- enter the hype man. He fills the void left at the end of a phrase or chorus with a series of "Come on, come ons" and "I can't hear yous" when a performance lacks the same gusto onstage as it does when you bump the CD while driving down the interstate.

Politicians need this, y'all. Maybe with some backup Sen. Allen could have just let loose with a few racial epithets, and then it would be the hype man's job to jump in with "he didn't mean it like that, he didn't mean it like that." Just sayin'...

Add a comment