IceJJFish & Dhananjay: The Merits of Terrible Hip-Hop Videos

Like most human beings with a pulse and an internet connection, I'm a sucker for bad rap videos. In February, when IceJJFish released a high-res, low-talent video filmed on the Hays, of course I watched it more than the recommended serving size of never.

Like reality TV, earnestly bad music videos bring out the worst in audience emotions. Viewers like me scour bad vids for some sign that the responsible parties were in on the joke. If they were, eh, it's another internet parody worth a few chuckles and a repost (I still think IceJJFish's Hays joint was a viral pun: note the solid production value, video vixen and lack of auto-tune on a voice so bad it has to be fake).

But if it's real, and someone put in the long hours of creative process and execution hoping to share their work with the world, we've got ourselves a winner. Though I might feel terrible after playing it over and over again, it's a guilty pleasure scratch that can't be itched any other way. In Germany, they call this Schadenfreude, joy derived from the misfortune of others. In America, we call this bad youtube videos.

Located approximately in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, Grinnell College hosts some 1,600 students. Their most famous alum, excluding Herbie Hancock, is Dhananjay the First, an aspiring rapper whose "Lonely Throne" video garnered almost 400k views on tastemaker video blog World Star Hip Hop last April. For his first effort, Dhananjay yoinked the singsong flow of Drake's "Shot for Me" and filled in his own Aubrey Graham-esque emotional tear.

It's rough. With lines like "only do my reading after sipping on some codeine" and a veritable fashion show of terrible decisions, Dhananjay's even earned his own trash-talking annotation on Rap Genius.

In February, a year after his internet debut, Dhananjay returned with "Say My Name," this round stealing vibes from Destiny's Child's 2000 single of the same name. It's still rough, with Dhananjay switching from Drake confessional to a more traditional sermon of the mob lifestyle. Like his tendency to rip whole beats instead of sample, our friend in Grinnell can't seem to rhyme and remain true to his own life. Or, as a youtube comment says, "you got vietnam and desert storm camo on at the same time ahahah."

Thanks to the internet, every day I come across music that doesn't quite work, or isn't for me. But when there's a video component, that multimedia layering of badness becomes the perfect form of entertainment.