The Internet has changed celebrity and fame through the eyes of the public. It has made more people achieve their “fifteen minutes of fame”. Sites such as Youtube have brought average “Joes” and “Janes” onto our laptops and desktop computers. Some of these people have received their notoriety for their dancing, see the “Numa Numa guy” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o. Others such as comedian, Judson Laipply can take claim to having the most watched video on Youtube with his evolution of dance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg. But it is perhaps the original music artists that have found the most success on and off of the Internet . The two most recognizable music artists that first found fame on Youtube are none other than the petite yet Baritone voiced Tay Zonday and the often nude rapper/reggae artist, Reh Dogg. Their breakout songs are original and apparently quite popular. But unlike many other Youtube artists, they are not one hit wonders. Both have produced other songs/videos which have also garnered major viewer-ship and attention. Both artists have their fans and detractors. They have their own websites and even sell merchandise. They are not just entertainers, they are entrepreneurs. But the question remains, who is the bigger star? The native of Minneapolis or the import from the US Virgin Islands?
Let’s break it down in several different categories.
Tay Zonday’s breakout hit, “Chocolate Rain” has over 43 millions views. His other videos for his original compositions have done quite well as well. “Explode” has almost five million views , “Internet Dream” just broke out over 3 million, and several others will make it past the million mark before the end of 2009. On the other hand Reh Dogg’s biggest hit, “Why Must I Cry” just has over 3 million views. Many of his other videos don’t even break the two hundred thousand mark.
This one isn’t even close, Zonday wins this one in a landslide.
Tay composes all of his songs and is quite adept at playing the keyboards. He plays pop as well as classical music. His songs are often times political and touch on various social themes. However, what makes Zonday stand out, is his deep voice which has been described as being a hybrid cross between legendary singer Paul Robeson and actor James Earl Jones.
Reh Dogg, on the other hand has a voice that sounds like a squirrel dieing. However, the singer does have dancehall skills that he doesn’t utilize much. His songs are not political unless they’re about President Barack Obama. Instead he chooses to emote about failed relationships and how he has been hurt by the world at large.
In some cases, musical detractors and enemies will find themselves the subject of a Dis song by the emotional artist, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJiGKiJKCPA&feature=PlayList&p=5B92BB0E2FD7A888&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6
His voice and playing just outclass Reh Dogg and put him in the doghouse.
Zonday doesn’t have much material, he might be lucky if he enough songs to make one album. His songs are not even available on services such as I-Tunes or Rhapsody. Whereas Reh Dogg, has produced several albums and has his music on several Internet music providers. In an interview with Skyy John http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZFZuV60smw&feature=player_embedded, Zonday stated he hasn’t even done an original song in a year. With Reh Dogg, fans can expect a new song every two weeks.
Reh Dogg just has too much material for Zonday in this one.
National Media Exposure –
Reh Dogg has been featured on G4TV’s “Attack of the Show” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x2W12A8Qow and even had a new video made for “Why Must I Cry” on the Tosh.O. show on Comedy Central. The show “Hot Ghetto Mess” http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=14101422 even showed a clip of the singer and suggested that he not quit his day job. Meanwhile Tay Zonday, appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9XIx7ElLoI and was parodied on the South Park episode, “Canada Strikes.” Zonday even did a video with the Dr. Pepper called “Cherry Chocolate Rain” to help promote their new cherry chocolate drink http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x2W12A8Qow.
Getting Tosh.O to do a new video for you is pretty impressive but appearing on Late Night TV
takes the cake. Tay wins this one.
Both artists have their own websites and receive a substantial amount email and fans. Zonday is more widely recognized, however, he is an enigma for many people. Fans don’t know much about the singer and he keeps it like that. However, that doesn’t stop fans and other artists from remixing his songs see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT3C7sa3xOI.
Reh Dogg on the other hand exposes more than just his skin on his videos, he exposes his feelings. Perhaps this is why he has a legion of loyal fans that will always defend his name. A look at his myspace page http://www.myspace.com/rehdogg, reveals fans from all over the globe. If there’s a forum and it disses the singer, you can expect some of his fans trashing those that badmouth the Dogg.
Zonday may be known by more people, but Reh Dogg’s fans take their artist very seriously. But part of that is, Reh Dogg takes them seriously.
The Verdict –
Both artists made a name for themselves through the Internet. They have both been ridiculed and praised. They have also made efforts to establish themselves as legitimate artists. Both are to be admired because they have talent and are not manufactured by record labels. It’s a shame that Zonday doesn’t put his songs for purchase on the Internet, he could make some money off his talent. However, Zonday may have a bigger plan and so far his views on Youtube alone clearly mark him as the clear cut “King of the Internet.”