I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.
My boy DJ Neptune hit me up on Instant Messenger last week and asked me if I saw what "they" were doing to rapper Ace Hood on social network Twitter. I told him no, but that I would check it out as soon as I was near a computer.
Once I got there, I bore witness to one of the most vicious, meanest and Inexplicably humorous mob movements in social networking history.
A brief education. On Twitter, when you use the "#" sign and a word it automatically registers the term in the Twitter search. If the topic is popular, it will start "trending" on the site for all to see. Once something starts trending, its popularity starts to swell even more and more people join into the fray. When Michael Jackson died, "#RIP MJ" was a popular trending topic.
Well, #uknowuacehoodwhen spread like a wildfire after a 30 day drought in California for poor Ace Hood. The young rapper has released a pair of albums within a 12-month time span, is solid lyrically and has heavy hitters like DJ Khaled backing him. With Def Jam as his recording home, you would think he would be safe from such taunts. Not.
Here is a random sampling of some of the funnier jokes by micro-bloggers on Twitter.
#uknowuacehood when @iamdiddy wouldn't steal your publishing
#uknowuacehood when on ur song Dj Khalid says "we pretty good" instead of "we the best"
#uknowuacehood when DefJam take u to court for downloading a Ace Hood album & "you've been punished enough"
#uknowuacehood when you're not on any of the remixes to your song...
#uknowuacehood when the next rhyme you write is gona be a suicide note
I have to admit, I was laughing out loud at my computer, but also amazed at this hybrid of humor and hate. The Hip-Hop Twitter community quickly adopted an e-mob mentality and commenced to iRoasting (copyright Chuck Creekmur) one of its own like he was Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly. But, iRoast him, they did!
But why? I had to ask a few people for this one.
But who and how? After a bit of research, I quickly realized that this all started with some guys very familiar in the New York area. The comedy sketch team of itsthereal.com took another trending topic, #uknowuhoodwhen, and flipped it to #uknowuacehoodhwhen and the "internets" ran wild with it. Twitter has a very robust, yet simple search which will allow you to search for these trending topics very easily. I search for "Chuck Norris" all the time. Those are the funniest. Anyway, I contacted the guys of itsthereal.com and Jeff answered a few simple questions explaining how this all came about.
AllHipHop.com: What made you start it as a trending topic or did it start some other way like one of your videos?
Jeff: This won't surprise anyone: not much thought went into #uknowuacehood. Very spur-of-the-moment; there was no master plan. All morning, people were tagging their tweets with #uknowuhood hashtags, and I just did a simple word substitution. I made a couple of quick jokes about how only Ace Hood knew who Ace Hood was, thinking nothing of it. It took off immediately, surprising no one more than Eric and myself. But no, I didn't have any intentions of getting onto the Trending Topics board. I always thought that was reserved for talking about the Jonas Brothers, Twilight, and Things That Are Not Ace Hood.
AllHipHop.com: What was the original intent? Did you think it would spiral into THIS mean-spirited, but funning roasting?
Jeff: I thought we'd get a couple of retweets, a bunch of LOLs, but didn't expect it to pick up the way that it did. The whole joke was that nobody knew who Ace Hood was, and so when it spread further out, then the joke turned in on itself because all of these people were making fun of Ace Hood simply because they didn't know who he was. (Can't decide if it's meta, or ironic? Either way, sort-of funny.)
As for mean-spirited, I felt pretty bad after 3 hours of people making fun of Ace Hood, because it was just a pile-on by these anonymous commenters. At least with Eric and myself, our faces are out there - - you know who we are. (Actually, you probably don't. But at least we give you that option!) Thankfully, Ace Hood took it all in stride, putting out a tweet about how appreciative he was to get so much attention. I mean, we did get his name out in one day, more than Def Jam did in two years.
AllHipHop.com: What, if anything, does this tell you about social networking and the new community bourgeoning around places like twitter?
Jeff: Hmm...I don't know that #uknowuacehood means anything, really. Nothing changed - even though Ace Hood's MySpace plays went up for the day - but it was a nice distraction, wasn't it? The most interesting thing to me was how quickly people jumped onto a trend simply because it was being discussed. No one knew who Ace Hood was, and yet they jumped on the bandwagon. I guess that's the most intriguing thing about the Twitter community: they just want to be a part of something.
Thanks, Jeff! Moving on and closing out, this seems to be a trend that will not stop anytime soon.
At least Ace Hood thought it was funny. He said the following his Twitter: "thank you for makin ace hood a trending topic i appreciate it from the bottom ruthless in stores now lmao ha ha thank u really."
A far less-humorous version of this trend popped up after Bow Wow announced, via Twitter, that he had signed to Cash Money. Suddenly, #justgotsignedtocashmoney was all the rage. Everybody from "Drake's Knee" to Master P to Gary Coleman and other "signed" to Cash Money.
Certainly, it was all in fun, but it also was a glaring statement that the veil is permanently lifted on celebrities.
The street is officially two-way and the people will have their say so - at the expense of stars.
I don't know what's going on in Ace Hood's mind these days, but I hope he wasn't on Twitter those couple of days. They were brutal. Still, for the fun, I had to search to see what came up when I searched for #uknowuacehood.
I got the following.
#uknowuacehood when you can't get #signedtoyoungmoney.
It just doesn't stop.
Chuck Creekmur is the founder of AllHipHop.com, a cultural critic, public speaker and yet to be turned into a trending topic. Sometimes, he can be found at www.twitter.com/chuckcreekmur.