I really hate when labels try to use these manipulative musical soap operas for promotion. It would be one thing if these artificial beefs were clever and at the end of the day those involved looked at the camera like “Gotcha!”, unfortunately we’re not dealing with good writers here in the hip-hop industry.
This week two unlikely foes have engaged in another case of beef 2.0 by exchanging unpleasantries through blog posts, videos and Myspace bulletins. In one corner, you have a new artist by the name of Charles Hamilton (see Sonic the Hamilton is a Reminder of Why Hipster Rap Sucks). In the other corner, you have Soulja Boy, a Green Beret when it comes to online warfare.
So here’s their story in a nutshell. Hamilton goes on the radio and gets agitated (as many artists do) when confronted with the topic of Soulja Boy. He proceeds to throw a few jabs at the youngster and blames him for many of his own struggles, mostly his trouble being taken seriously by the music industry. Soulja Boy was quick to take notice of the statements made by Hamilton and on Tuesday afternoon the rapper released a video responding to Hamilton’s attack.
Soulja Boy Responds to Charles Hamilton (VIDEO):
I’ve done a little bit of research and decided to unravel the horribly executed online marketing campaign Interscope Records attempted to pull off to spark the career of Charles Hamilton, while prostituting the names of two of the label’s biggest acts in the process.
1) The disappearing mixtape.
Called The Hamiltization Process, Charles Hamilton recently released a series of mixtapes- each in conjunction with a separate hip-hop blog with the final release in the series, titled The Pink Lavalamp, scheduled to be released with OnSmash.com on Monday Dec.8.
For reasons unknown, the mixtape never reached OnSmash.com, but miraculously found a new home the very same day on 50 Cent’s Social Network, ThisIs50.com, where Hamilton received a warm reception that included a complete Charles Hamilton site makeover featuring ads that covered the site promoting the release of Hamilton’s mixtape and prime real estate on the homepage for a video interview, which featured the now infamous remarks he made about Soulja Boy.
Hamilton offered the following explanation for the change on his blog:
Thanks to thisis50.com, onsmash.com…. from what I hear there’s a lil controversy as to what website got what. That was an administrative decision, and I was not behind the scenes on that. Then again, if bloggers aren’t political, I shouldn’t feel any kind of backlash at all.
According to Quantcast (a web traffic monitor), OnSmash.com pulls in over 250K unique visitors each month while ThisIs50.com is said to reach roughly 413K people each month. While the increased exposure is attractive, it’s hard to believe that any rationale “administrative decision” could warrant alienating the high traffic blogs like OnSmash that have been vital to promoting Hamilton’s career.
2) Soulja Boy Responds!
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first. Was Soulja Boy really upset about the comments from Hamilton? Out of all the bad things people have said publicly about the kid; was it really possible that Hamilton blaming him for his hedgehog getting no respect warranted Soulja Boy taking the (online) gloves off again?
As I watched the video, I began thinking- this video is actually pretty good…a little too good. I started noticing things that weren’t typical for Soulja Boy’s video masterpieces like editing and adequate lighting.
Here’s what I’m used to seeing:
It wasn’t just the quality of the video that seemed uncharacteristic, but Soulja Boy’s entire demeanor during the video. While he was no Barack Obama, Soulja Boy was surprisingly articulate and charismatic when speaking to Hamilton. This obviously was not the same Soulja Boy who made the nine minute dis video aimed at Ice-T, which featured about 30 seconds of relevancy surrounded by eight and a half minutes of name calling. If one didn’t know any better, they might just say that this seemed rehearsed…
3) The Marketing
The irregularities of Soulja Boy’s new video continued when instead of debuting the video on his Youtube channel, which makes him money on every click and comment according to the latest issue of Billboard, he opted to host the video on WorldStarHipHop.com.
The video went live on World Star Hip-Hop at approximately 3:40pm on Tuesday. Within the hour, the video was receiving a push from both Soulja Boy and Charles Hamilton.
4) Anti-Viral Video
The Soulja Boy video racked up over 500K views on World Star Hip-Hop during it’s first 24 hours of release, but all press hasn’t proven to be good press for Hamilton, as almost all reviews have favored Soulja Boy. Hamilton has already started waiving the white flag and claims his words were taken out of context.
Hamilton has even proposed a collaboration between himself and the artist he blames for:
…ruining the opportunity of people such as Cory Gunz, Mickey Factz, Kid Cudi to be accepted in the mainstream.
5. How It Failed
It’s very simple to figure out why this marketing plan blew up in Interscope’s face. They got greedy.
This plan could have worked and caused the sort of controversy they were seeking, but they let the entire story unfold in a day. We all know things move quickly on the internet, but this was too quick. They ran through the introduction, built the story, climaxed and then concluded the saga within twenty four hours.
It also may have worked better if all the players involved weren’t signed to the same label.
Interscope was trying to establish Hamilton as an anti-hero. He was their answer for all the hip-hop fans who reject Soulja Boy’s music. They assumed his online presence was strong enough to compete with that of Soulja Boy and attempted to instigate a fight between the two respective fan bases. Nice try.
The problem I have with all of this nonsense is exactly what I said when I reviewed Hamilton’s mixtape a few weeks ago; I’m sick of major labels diluting the talent pool of hard-working artists by trying to buy their way in. Say what you will about Charles Hamilton’s work ethic. All credibility he had was lost when he sold his soul to the suits and allowed them to turn his career into this cheap marketing campaign. In the end he disrespected the blog sites that he owes his career to, embarrassed himself and insulted the intelligence of his fans by expecting them to buy into the gimmick.
Like I said before, hip-hop fans are too smart for this stuff. Someday you’ll learn…