How WorldStarHipHop Became an Internet Spectacle Machine

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Worldstarhiphop.com is a video sharing blog turned internet spectacle machine founded in 2005 by Lee O’Denat aka Q. While his original intent was to create a blog, with video content, for the discussion of hip hop, he quickly learned that edgier, more salacious content generated more traffic. In an interview with Vice, Q discussed the ‘Worldstar’ battle cry, how cell phone cameras have changed our behavior and how Worldstar selects its videos.

Perhaps one of the most notorious aspects of Worldstar is that its name has become synonymous with the taping of street fights. When a fight breaks out, or is about to, people pull out their cell phones start shouting ‘Worldstar!’.

Q says this isn’t really new behavior, asserting that instead Worldstar is just showing showing people what’s been going on forever.

“We’re in a digital environment now”, he says regarding the prevalence of cell phone cameras. “Someone’s there waiting for you to slip up just to put you on Facebook, Youtube, Worldstar.”

Q takes pride that his startup is listed among the greats, and that it has become a battle cry, but he believes no blame lies with him.

Videos don’t get loaded directly to the site. Instead, they’re submitted to a team that reviews the days’ new videos and pick the best. Clearly they know their audience; the videos get thousands of comments and often, in excess of 100,000 views a day. A rare few generate more than 500,000 views. Q only has to step in when the team thinks that a video is borderline.

From beheadings to beastiality, Q has seen a lot. He sees it as another symptom of the grittiness of real life. The only reason it reaches him is because of the internet’s power to distribute content.

“The internet’s the reason why [I see this stuff]. I think they were sick before the internet.”

Q sees Worldstar occupying a space and filling a void for content viewers want. Those who upload are used to this sort of thing but the viewers; “They don’t want to talk about it. But actually they do want to talk about it. Their curiosity takes over,” Q says.

Image credit: libertygrace0

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