Is it possible to go viral just by talking about going viral? Maybe so, if you’re clever enough.
A new video released by upstart New York rapper Yung Jake this week serves as a meta-commentary on the act of going viral. “E.m-bed.de/d” is a song about Jake’s aspirations to become an Internet and social media sensation (though the lyrics, “I’m tryna get embedded/ I’m tryna get laid out” and associated visuals may or may not also speak to the artist’s romantic goals).
The video itself is an avant-garde parody, with Yung Jake sing-rapping about how his YouTube views are blowing up before the first minute of the song is finished. What’s even more impressive, though, is Jake’s commitment to the concept, as demonstrated by the webpage he created to host the song (and while we have indeed embedded the video below, it’s mandatory to go to the source to experience the video in full). It’s a page that is designed to look like YouTube, and although you can share the video, embed it, and “like” it, this is definitely not YouTube.
As the video starts, viewers can see the views seemingly increase as Jake sings about the “hit counts getting bigger,” along with the “likes” and “dislikes,” as the song progresses. “I think Justin retweeted it,” Jake says of the video, during the video, at which point a doctored version of Justin Bieber’s Twitter feed pops up on your screen, shouting out this song. At one point, when he mentions the ads on YouTube, the girl from a fake American Apparel ad on the side of the screen joins Yung Jake in the video. Throughout the video, the rapper name-checks everyone from Terry Richardson to Google+ while a number of Internet culture-focused windows pop up to further the story and demonstrate just how embedded the rapper is becoming as the song goes on.
We’ve seen videos and ads mess with the static form of well-known templates like a YouTube or Facebook page–witness Intel’s “The Chase” and Nintendo’s Wario Land “Shake It.” And we’ve also seen the kind of multi-window storytelling that HTML5 enables–see Arcade Fire’s “Wilderness Downtown” among others. But “E.m-bed.de/d” combines the multi-window pop ups and animation with a jaded wink at the whole social media game (and an admittedly catchy song) for something completely fresh.
“I did the coding with Vince McKelvie, and got help from some other people,” Jake says of the making of the video. “All the events on the site (pop-ups and effects) are initiated by the current time of the YouTube player.” Jake directed the video, which was based on his own idea. “I skipped the middle man and did that shit myself.”
Watch the video below for an example of some of Jake’s previous culture jamming on the song “Datamosh.”