Almost immediately after Taylor Swift announced the release date for Reputation, critics noted that the album was sharing the calendar with the anniversary of Kanye West’s mother’s death. For an album that takes plenty of jabs at West, this sat poorly with his fans, even as Swift’s camp spun it as just an unfortunate coincidence. In an attempt to combat Swift, teenage Kanye fan Rhys Halkidis organized “Hey Mama” Day, an event taking place on this date in question in which Ye’s megafans would continuously stream West’s song “Hey Mama” in an attempt to topple Swift from the Spotify streaming chart.
If this plan sounds half-baked, there was actually a lot of math put into its organization. Halkidis surmised that “Hey Mama” can be played 144 times over the course of 12 hours, which would take 31,250 fans to hit the numbers that Swift was streaming of her single back in August. With the goal set at 4.5 million streams, “Hey Mama” day failed to reach that impressive mark on Friday, topping out at a still impressive 700K streams.
As The Ringer reports, more than 7,000 fans eventually signed up to the Facebook event. Halkidis even distributed a 30-hour playlist that alternated between “Hey Mama” and The Life of Pablo’s “Siiiiiiiiilver Surffffeeeeer Intermission” hundreds of times, with the idea being that in case Spotify caught onto the same people listening to the same song over and over, the intermission would hopefully make it harder to trace. Still, the song didn’t make it onto the Spotify charts, despite 500K streams seeming to be the cutoff to chart. It’s possible that Spotify observed the plan and kept it off purposefully, or that the streams didn’t fall within a 24-hour window (Spotify did not return The Ringer’s request for comment). But because Swift didn’t make her album available to stream, the whole plan couldn’t have worked anyway, since there was nothing to combat.
Still, Kanye’s fans took small victories, as the song did manage to top Last.fm’s chart that day, and appeared on several iTunes charts. And they’re planning to do it again next year, with a new event already on the books.