Lukas Strobel is a German rap artist, more commonly known by his stage alias “Alligatoah“. I found that next to a little bit of smart silliness, the lyrics do have a taste of a moral, or critique on the society in them. It’s not always drop-dead obvious, but there are some hints into that direction.
In the 2011 song “Namen machen”, roughly translates into “making a name for oneself”, he is examining modern age pop culture and mostly that involves the quality of digital media and the reception on social networking platforms. You could consider this as critique on digital media, content marketing or personal marketing, all of those could be considered to be a part of this.
In this opinion feature I would like to use selections of the lyrics, translate them into English, and elaborate a little bit what they mean to me and how this 2011 song’s lyrics are getting more relevant and accurate with every passing day. Whether you like the music or not, the lyrics hold a weight that cannot be discarded.
Competition never sleeps, the users glee, this is showbiz and nothing’s for free
Especially with the rise of the YouTubers the pressure to produce amazing and personal content has been increased significantly. Not only them on video but you got Podcasters killing the radiostar, if not for video, and you have image experts leveraging platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, or Instagram to broadcast their content. In order to have success, many grow restless and try keeping up the production, like a 12-member team.
For sure, in this space we fight for every click
When you rely on the income stream of ads viewed by, audience checking into your content, every click is important. A single person can invoke a new wave on social networking platforms, which leads to a new wave of visitors, leading to a new wave of people who share content they enjoy. The potential is as strong as the volume of initial content consumption in the first wave.
Videos like “Football in the Groin”
Clickbait titles and questionable content? With videos named like “dumbass tries to hump balloon”, “boy can’t ride”, or “football in the groin” there is a declaration of what the content entails, but the intention is to do whatever it takes for the content creator to make a person play that clip. Whether you skate in a subway tunnel or take a bath naked in the Panama Canal, what matters is your buddy recording it on camera.
100k views – we craft legends here, but the audience forgets, they abandon you
Achieving the objective to get your content checked out by the masses on the Internet is not easy. If you are reading this, you might have been coming from Google search results or maybe we have earned enough of your trust, to follow us on your preferred social network.
This is not a project wherein you can make so-and-so-many fans and then settle with that volume. If they enjoyed it, they want more. They want something fresh all the time and if you disappoint someone, they will leave you again. Opinions are flexible and loyalty to content producers is almost inexistent.
If you want to make a name for yourself, you need to poop on the street
This slightly irritating phrase is part of the song’s chorus and gets repeated all over the track. It means that in order to succeed in this digital media competition you need to lower the quality of the product. Do things for the shock effect and be outrageous. A video titled “2016 Breakthrough Prize Symposium, Fundamental Physics: The Future of Particle Physics”, with a feature image being the cover slide of the event, is never going to stand a chance against “POOL JUMP EPIC FAIL”.
Which one is going to get the click?
In our age, where almost everybody is able to produce and distribute content, the competition is endless. Maybe your content had better quality than a similar one on Mashable, but it doesn’t matter because perhaps nobody saw how good yours was, but millions saw the feature on Mashable. Quality is no priority if you’re in for the clicks.
They love the crap, lose your face, but never their gaze
In any media platforms, outlets and other channels of content the feed is dominated by content many would classify as irrelevant or low-level entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely amused by cat videos and a goofy meme here and there, but it has no higher value to me than an article, in which someone shared their opinion or reported a news story. I can witness that any piece of silliness will receive significantly more consumption than content, trying to educate and inform.
The lower the morals and quality, the higher is the likelihood of social media virality kicking in. You’re a legit company trying to be viral? Forget about it. Not the smartest social media manager and not the most creative content creator is able to change the established content quality niveau of our global society.
Screw the pain, I am awesome, just give me a LOL
Video content of people having accidents or hurting themselves is more popular than ever. Mankind loves their spitefulness. As long as it happens to someone else it’s great entertainment. It was like this in the arena in ancient Rome, it was like this in America’s Funniest Home Videos and it was like that on Jackass. People love it when others get hurt. Seems like if you want to be famous, hurt yourself and make sure it’s on video. Please don’t do that.
It’s not my fault, it’s the society watching like zombies, until their heads explode
… “Boy it’s disgusting and it’s trash, yeah.” And yet they don’t stop. You know it’s irrelevant and they know it’s irrelevant. Such content does not inform and it does not educate. it may enrich your life in form of entertainment but it’s unlikely to be very sustainable. It’s more likely that they will forget about your content instantly. It absolutely did not matter to them and certainly it did not change their life. Most of the clickbaiting even leads to frustrated audience, but who cares? The ads loaded all the way through and the cash flow continues.
The South Park episode “Raising the Bar” from 2012 has used this phenomenon as a theme too. The point is that the overall consumption of low-level entertainment is on a rampage. While I consider a funny cat video as rather neutral media, from an intellectual point of view, there are some media elements that seem to be making people think less, not more. Audience keeps on accepting and quality is on decline.
I hope there will be a change in media and I hope that educative and informative content will come back to rise. Wouldn’t it be nice if an informative video on YouTube would be receiving more views than a person falling off the skateboard and hurting himself/herself? You’re the audience. You’re the follower. You’re the consumer. And you are the one who can change that. You define where the bar for content quality and value is. The social media gurus and the content producers can’t change society and culture.
YouTube: Alligatoah – Namen machen (Official Video)
Photo credit: Stefan Brending, Kristof Jansen, Markus Hillgärtner,
Source: Parts of Alligatoah’s lyrics were translated from German to English and used as subheaders in this opinion feature.