Mass Appeal…

06.11.07 11 years ago 32 Comments

I just saw a Hallmark commercial for their new line of musical greeting cards. The featured card played MC Hammer’s untouchable hit, “You Can’t Touch This.” In the ad, a suburban father envisions himself in the early 90s video, dressed as Hammer, fade lines, gold-frame glasses, baggy pants and all.

While the commercial made me smirkle a little a bit (he does look hilarious shuffling across the stage), it’s surely not worthy of an entire pen session. What is worthy of some wisdom though, is the fact that it’s come to a point where certain songs, and trends, in Hip-Hop, are completely transcending their target audience. This commercial is case in point.

Before Hammer was the Funky Head Hunter, he was obviously aiming for a mainstream, pop audience with his songs. Seeing as Bart “Didn’t Do It” over this Oakland rapper’s particular hit on The Simpsons, over a decade ago now, Hammer was clearly successful with his attempt. But could he have ever envisioned it’d come to this?

It’s almost twenty years later, and because his first single now bangs out of a greeting card, a middle-aged White guy is portraying him in a Hallmark commercial.

If Hammer saw that one comin’, he would’ve never filed for Chapter 11.

Those thoughts led to this one, ‘what themes from today’s hip-hop world will exceed their OG audience?’ Meaning, who’s gonna’ be on the greeting cards, the Burger King ads, and eventually end up being mocked on Family Guy, fifteen years from today?

Here a few examples of the new trend-setting ideas coming from today’s rap artists, which I thought might fit the bill. Accompanying the topics are pieces of evidence that prove each is well on their way to becoming a staple in the pop culture of today, and tomorrow.

(Warning: Due to the ridiculousness of the following material, you might experience some nausea.)

The Chicken Noodle Soup Dance

The dance’s origin, a hit by Harlem’s DJ Webstar and Young B, was surely Stretch Armstrong’s favorite jam of ’06 (Not the DJ, people). It’s sirens, boom-baps, and hair-pullingly catchy chorus made bodies flail from NY to the LA, and apparently all the way over to kindergarten class.

“Throw Some ‘s D’s On It”

I personally owe it to TSS for originally putting me on Rich Boy. When he showed all of us how hungry the Mobile emcee was, with the song that turned into the ’07 spring anthem, it was all the way back in October. Since then, it’s come to this…

Ghost Ridin’

I thought the hood was the only place PO’s let people get away with getting’ all Patrick Swayze. Apparently I was wrong. Ghost ridin’ has made it all the way to the burbs. This kid doesn’t even see it coming.

The Motorcycle (The Young Joc Dance)

The second Tom Cruise was on BET doing The Motorcycle; Young Joc was certified. From that moment on, “It’s Goin Down” didn’t stop playing on the radio, and everyone who saw it knew the dance. The YouTube video alone will keep folks ridin’ for years.


Last, but definitely not least, are the phenomenon known as simply as Grillz. Thanks to Nelly, Paul Wall, and almost every other rapper on the planet, the general public has really taken to these diamond-encrusted dentures. Hustlers love ‘em, kids make ‘em out of tin foil, and Kendra can’t leave home w/o ‘em. These damn things aren’t lettin’ up any time soon. Believe that.

While all of those examples might’ve across as absurd, especially when viewed from a perspective like this one, remember that legitimate millionaires are the people feeding this stuff to the public.

All it takes is one pure idea (a song or a simple dance, usually by an unknown artist), and it turns into a marketer’s dream. Record labels then push the life out of anything that can attract cash, and artists’ songs become Hallmark greeting cards twenty years later.

It’s a paradox, which hurts legitimate artists looking for longevity, and makes millionaires out of artists like Young MC. It’s the reason the Baha Men are set for life.

It’s why you can hear “This Is Why I’m Hot” playing out of Grams’ ride on the daily.

And it’s also the reason I don’t listen to the radio.

Is it right that just about anyone can make a catchy song, come up with some corny dance for it, and then become…E-Famous.

Of course it is, ‘cuz like Hov says, “This is America, people!”

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