Is there any group more reviled than YouTube commenters? After all, they seem to expend all of their energy trolling the popular video site, simply to leave comments like “you suck.” Post a video to YouTube, no matter how obscure your channel, and in under 30 minutes you’ll have a random stranger telling you how terrible you are, how you should die, how you have no talent. (And if you’re female, they’ll leave an additional comment regarding your appearance, and it won’t be one you’ll enjoy reading.)
With that in mind, Los Angeles rappers and YouTube superstars Watsky and Wax teamed up to release the single “Give A Hater A Hug,” a cheerful anthem asking listeners to forgive the people who spend their days making other people feel bad.
The track is simple and straightforward, clearly designed for YouTube’s overwhelmingly preteen audience. In addition, Watsky and Wax are playing towards a particular house: Watsky is a member of Nerdfighteria, an online community originally oriented around YouTube but now prevalent in every social media network, in which self-identified “nerds” commit to “being awesome” and “fighting worldsuck.”
… YouTube commenters are a prime example of worldsuck.
So, if nothing else than to inspire their hundreds of thousands of young fans, Watsky and Wax are now singing “tell a hater cheer up, ch-ch-cheer up.” The truth is, it’s a message we all need right now, with sites like Popular Science eliminating their comment sections and social media bullying — among both children and adults — reaching unprecedented levels.
How nice would it be, Watsky and Wax sing, if we could simply let those nasty comments slide right off our backs and understand that the haters need love even more than we do?
Most singers spend years honing and refining their voices. They go through the teachers and coaches their parents can afford and get remedial skills. While Watsky may have preached “you don’t need some motivational speaker” in his epic Letter to my 16-year-old self, the reality is most aspiring rappers and singers actually do need resources to find useful singing lessons in Los Angeles, New York, or wherever they live.
Watsky, better known for his ability to spit spoken word, carries a tune a bit further than he has in his previous work, although when you listen to Watsky you aren’t really listening to the melody. Wax brings in his DJ talents to create an infectious rhythm that’ll have you repeating the track as soon as it ends.
Even though I’m far outside the average age range of the Nerdfighter group, and even though I tend to get a little cynical about exhibits of pure enthusiasm and kindness, I found myself listening to “Give A Hater A Hug” over and over again.
And now, a note about the Nerdfighter thing. You know that book, The Fault In Our Stars, that you’ve seen everybody carrying around and that’s going to be turned into a feature film next year? Nerdfighters did that. Who’s the largest group on micro-loaning site Kiva? Nerdfighters. Which group combined with Harry Potter fans to raise over $185,000 for the charity EqualityFTW? Yes, Nerdfighters. So it’s clear that if anyone could actually turn the tide on haters, it’ll be these people, with Watsky spitting beats about tolerance and understanding and Wax mixing in the rhythms.
As they say in my hometown: DFTBA.