As We Say Goodbye To Vine, We Remember Its Viral Rap Stars

We are in the last days of the popular app Vine, so we remember all the rappers who got famous from 6 seconds.

“Who needs a record label? Who needs a blog post? It’s this different ecosystem” - Nathan Slavik on Vine in 2015

Vine—a 6-second video clip application that’s perfect for a society living in shorter moments with shorter attention spans. Vine is what Andy Warhol prophesied when he said that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, and this is before viral was even a word. But this wasn’t 15 minutes, it was less than 15 seconds; Vine was to video what Twitter was to writing—micronizing instead of maximizing. Both Vine and Twitter forced users to say more with less—whether it’s a profound thought or a hilarious joke, you had to find a way to keep the impact, but also simplify the content. Both tools are best in the hands of the clever. It makes perfect sense that the owners of Twitter saw something in Vine, something so extraordinary that they purchased the application before it even went live. Twitter bought Vine in October of 2012, yet the application wasn’t launched to the public until January 2013. A microblog who had acquired micro video—a match made in minimal heaven.

Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold. Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app. Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website. - Important News about Vine

A year ago, former DJBooth squad members Nathan, Lucas and I talked about how Vine was affecting music, dance and celebrity culture. Ordinary people were becoming social media sensations because of the app. Rappers were launching their careers without the need of blog coverage because hordes of people were promoting their music through the clips. I had no idea who T-Wayne was at the time, nor did I have any clue that his “Nasty Freestyle” was inspiring countless YouTube and Vine videos of people doing “The Whip.” Before Cam Newton, the dab was already causing a small, but rumbling uproar. Any time stars are being born so quickly, it feels as if you’re looking at what has the ability to shift normality and change culture. Vine affected lives, and it was also affecting the music industry. Sadly, our prediction of Vine being its own ecosystem came to an end today when Twitter announced that it would be discontinuing the application and bringing an abrupt end to the social media’s Vine era.

Twitter users have been reminiscing all day on some of the best, most hilarious moments that Vine has brought us. For the past three years, it brought far more laughs than tears, or tears from laughter, and there will be a void left when it’s all said and then. What I remember about Vine—the very first memory that comes to mind—is Bobby Shmurda's hat disappearing. I’m certain that the Vine clip of Bobby’s hat graced my eyes before the video of “Hot Nigga” did. So many Vine users started doing parodies of the hat, of the caught body line, and of the Shmoney dance. It made the song inescapable. You didn’t even need Vine to see it; the clips were all over Twitter and Facebook, and Worldstar was compiling compilations of all the videos together. Before radio, before Beyoncé, and before any major co-sign, Bobby was stamped by the people. That’s what Vine had that made it so natural—the people only reacted to what they liked, not what they were told to like.

Bobby is the first artist that comes to mind, but the biggest song to start off as a Vine had to be Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.” The song was the biggest record in the country, but on the stairway to stardom, it exploded on Vine. Fetty Wap isn’t a technically skilled rapper, and he isn’t the greatest vocalist, but people genuinely enjoyed his profession of love to the woman who assisted in all his trap endeavors. There’s a fun quality to “Trap Queen,” and Vine is where people got a chance to express silliness and be goofy without judgment. The same can be said about Lil Yachty’s “1 Night.” It only took one Vine user to see the song as something whimsical—something he could laugh with, rather than at—and that turned the song into a booming viral smash. Vine is where the music and the users were synchronized, a fusion of two forms of art colliding to make something short, but sweet. 

OG Maco’s “U Guessed It” was assisted by people on Vine who saw something in his angst and turned it into something more. Even if Maco has distanced himself from the song, strategically, you could see how powerful an artist/Vine user relationship could be. “U Guessed It” wasn’t a dance song; it wasn’t lighthearted, but it connected and the users reacted. He even saw success with the song “12 Bricks.” The more popular Vine users who added content to your music, the more it became exposed to the masses. I believe Vine is the breakthrough platform for dances like “The Whip,” “The Nae-Nae” “The Yeet” "The Milly Rock" and “The Dab." It ushered in music directly to the people, by the people, the same way YouTube did it for the "Crank Dat" era.

Without Vine, we would’ve never had “On Fleek,” or the “Why You Always Lying” video. We would never get the adorable, yet not so little Terio. Without Vine, we would never get the genius that is RetroSpectro, and that means we never get the 35-year-old white man character on Atlanta named Harrison. “Don’t Drop That Thun Thun" by FiNATTiCZ even had a resurgence thanks to Vine.

Vine didn’t break any artists trying to "bring hip-hop back"—it probably introduced a few who are considered "real hip-hop" killers—but Vine was a platform that allowed music and the consumer to coexist. We have Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat, but Vine had a special place in the culture. I never had the app; I never did it for the Vine, but I will miss what it offered. Today is a good day to reminisce and remember that all we have online can be gone tomorrow. Myspace didn’t survive, Blackplanet is dead, and Vine is waiting to be buried. SoundCloud, Twitter, and even our beloved blogosphere aren't safe forever. Cherish them.  


By Yoh, aka Doing It For The Vine One Mo Time, aka @Yoh31.


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