Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will release a new album in 2010 titled #willpower, an obvious nod to the Twitter convention. The first single off of that album, “T.H.E.” (aka “The Hardest Ever”), will premiere at Sunday’s American Music Awards. This got us thinking. Hashtags in music: Good idea? Bad idea? Played-out idea?
First introduced into the Twitter lexicon by Chris Messina in 2007, the hashtag was originally a way to tie together common threads of conversation (e.g., Follow Friday, tweets relating to events, news about natural disasters). By hashtagging a word or phrase, one could make a subject trend. The convention even found its way into rap, in the form of the O Music Awards nomination phenom, “hashtag rap.”
Therefore, we understand Will.i.am’s inclusion of the hashtag in his album name — it’s a built-in trending topic. But was he the first rapper to include such a naming convention in his album title? We think not.
We can’t say for certain who was the first to use the hash in a title, but we do know that rapper Max Burgundy — who wrote that piece on Drake’s album leak for us — released an EP in the Spring titled #Waiting. We hit him up about the Will.i.am news, and he reacted thusly in a blog post:
Yea I did it first. And then ALL of a sudden all these other rappers, musicians and now corporate entities — MLB baseball being one — are hashtaging outside of twitter.
I dropped #waiting in the spring and already hashtaging seems irrelevant, in part because now topics on Twitter can trend sans the beloved pound sign. So Will.i.am does the sh*t and people will say it’s genius blah blah blah. And marketing execs and college age interns will make portfolios and poster board pitching stupid a$$ ideas surrounding the hashtag. All I can say is get used to it. The builtin hashtag is the new MySpace. #smh some #people just ain’t trendy, #smh or #creative, but alas, let the commercial fawning begin.
“How can we utilize social media to further our reach?” *white exec voice.
That’s why I am not titling my next project with a hashtag. I’ll think of something, but it won’t be that. The hashtag is dead, we are just still #waiting on the obituary.
Still Waiting coming soon.
Oreos for breakfast.
What do you think? Is the hashtag dead?
By Brenna Ehrlich
Image courtesy of Flickr, joe0153