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Um, Democracy for All?


This is from an article on Slate today about the Black Eyed Peas hit "My Humps." (For those who haven’t heard the atrocity the chorus goes something like: What u gon’ do wit all that junk? /All that junk inside that trunk? /I’ma get,get,get, get you drunk/Get you love drunk off my hump and a "hump" is a part of a woman’s "lovely lady lumps" or, uh, curves). The bolded emphasis is mine, as it’s the source of my horror.

The most fascinating aspect of "My Humps" is that it is widely believed to be the most successful unsolicited single in history, and, as of this writing, it is the most-downloaded song in the country. The Peas achieved all this without releasing a single. Instead, file sharers and intrepid radio programmers were the ones who more or less discovered the song and pushed it toward hit status, eventually forcing the label to respond with a proper single release. (Shaggy’s "It Wasn’t Me" is another recent example of a song that hit because of radio programmers rather than label strategy.) For now, "My Humps," has become the standard-bearer for the direct-democracy cultural possibilities of the Internet. It will certainly be supplanted.