'Attack of the 5 foot hipster'—Hip-hop duo engages fans with creative use of YouTube platform

by Knowlton Thomas

The hip-hop scene is often associated with glamourizing drugs, pimping and prostitution, gun violence, womanizing, and blowing wads of cash on fast cars, gold chains and grills, and Rolexes. 

The hip-hop scene is not often associated with social media innovation. And by not often, I mean never.

Well, Riot !n Paris, a relatively new and fairly underground hip-hop duo, seek to change that.

They've launched their latest music video, "Attack of the 5 ft. Hipster," on YouTube. Now that seems pretty low-budget—I mean, that stuff should be launched on television. But what Riot has done with "5 ft. Hipster" on YouTube can't be done on television, and it's no low-budget project either.

Riot in Paris are a hip-hop rock duo from Brooklyn, NY. The duo are currently signed to Champion Sound and are preparing to release their first album in 2010.

Their music video is actually several YouTube videos, all around 1.5 to 2 minutes in length, despite the full song being less than four minutes from start to finish. This is because their music video is interactive: it's a story, and you choose where it goes.

What do I mean? Near the end of the first video, which begins a plot, you're given three different options. They're clickable links within the videos themselves, and you have until the video ends to select one, perhaps 20 seconds or so. Choose an option, and you're sent to the next video, where the plot unfolds based on your decision. This happens again at the end of the next video. Eventually, the song and the plot ends, but you can always go back to the start and test a different path of choices to see how else the plot may have unfolded.

It's a lot like those books—"To enter the haunted house, turn to page 50. To run away, turn to page 38."—but in a lively YouTube package. Beyond YouTube, Riot !n Paris is active on Twitter, and their website is technically savvy, matching the intellect of their rhymes and making the majority of today's rappers look like outdated chumps.

Are you aware of any other creative uses of YouTube?

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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