In this issue, we explore the world of hype entertainment.
Before the squeeze of economic timelines, and human activities, the world of hype entertainment was rapidly buzzing in its operations and offering. Social engagement was on its way of becoming a lifeline of survival for many. The extroverts, ambiverts and introverts were well on their way to rock on the same stage and then it hit.
The general notion that “hype is alive” was made evident and there seem to be structure and sense to the art. Right before the set of the pandemic, the acclaimed Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos, Nigeria presented a domain where high energy came alive for all who assembled for therapeutic cheap thrills.
Hype culture, though it is fast-growing, found its spot in mainstream entertainment.With the breakout of hype men such as Jimmie the entertainer, Do2dtun, Special Spesh, Shodytheentertainer, and other vanguards on the rise, more industry entrants with a flair for music are realizing that “hype” is a viable area of the eco-system they can branch into. Believe it or not, the hype is really alive.
Music writer Mickey Hess explained the term:
a hype man is a figure who plays a central but supporting role within a group, making his own interventions, generally aimed at hyping up the crowd while also drawing attention to the words of the MC
The culture has been on for well over a decade or more, from the onset of hip- hop music, these individuals stay providing support and increasing audience excitement and engagement. Some of their techniques which includes exclamations and interjections call-and-response chants, and momentary dance have led to the best social engagements and convergence.
Live performance in Nigeria has had a whole new meaning in recent times and the place of hype culture has birthed spaces that allowed the stage to become a site for possibilities. As simple as coming into a gathering feeling moody, people now leave with newfound energy and verve for life.
Sadly, hypemen rarely get enough props for their craft. In Nigeria, they are still looked upon as members of the crowd struggling to be heard and wanting to be identified. The solidity of their art has been reduced to mere backups or “assistant boys”, but not for long.
There is hope, as conversations surrounding the discourse now poses a business side to the art, hypemen are now likened to comedians, the clear intent of both ventures is to create relief, either through humour for comedy or through energy for hype, which reveals its true structure.
In Nigeria, the growth of this relatively emerging sphere will come from
acknowledging and understanding the place of what their talent gives and what the craft presents. It will also come from appreciating the art, technique, talent and dedication of hypemen to creating energies, as well as sharing it.
Hardly can one find a Nigerian artiste without a hype man; in the clubs, at concerts, weddings or gatherings and so, there is a growing need for more music and entertainment enthusiasts to find their path and carve a niche where need be. The ripple effect of this is that in due time, the hype industry will arrive at an elevated status and the value they offer will go round.