PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Mayday!: Mayday!

Dara Kartz

Miami rap-duo reached online star status with a video for the single that became a YouTube phenomenon literally overnight.



Label: SouthBeat Records
US Release Date: 2006-09-26
UK Release Date: Available as import

YouTube has recently been added to the ever-growing list of Google's corporate roster, purchased for an obscene price tag while adding to the speculation that YouTube will one day become a vehicle for posting more than just incredibly grainy copies of your ex in a compromising position. In fact, the site has already emerged full of potential as a promotional tool for new artists. The free video-sharing service lets users stream video right in their browser windows, makeing video files easy to embed on personal web pages and blogs, and essentially making the need to endure exhausting downloads obsolete. The possibilities for new artists in this realm are endless, as Miami rap-duo Mayday! has discovered. The group enjoyed national press coverage surrounding the single for its debut album, all thanks to the record number of views for its video available on YouTube.

MayDay!'s homemade video for the track "Groundhog Day" was uploaded to YouTube on a Tuesday in early May, and by 2am that night, the video's counter had reached over 1.5 million views. The song features Cee-Lo (of recent Gnarls Barkley fame) who provides an obvious hook, but the press immediately looked into the new YouTube phenomenon and, more importantly for Mayday!, highlighted the band's upcoming album release at the same time. A bit of investigation revealed a number of factors contributing to the group's YouTube popularity, including its record label's partnership with an online dating site. Also worth mentioning, is the ingenious utilization of the easy-to-embed feature of YouTube's format to make the video clip available for easy viewing on a number of heavy traffic websites, particularly online porn sites. Clearly, there was a killer marketing idea at work here, and one that catapulted the band into an incredible position to release its debut record. Yet, for all the attention that this video and single received, not a peep has been heard about this album. Unfortunately, while there was nothing typical about the strategy used by the band and label that lead to the video sensation, there is nothing that comes together remotely as clever on this album.

MC Bernbiz and producer/keyboardist Plex Luthor make up Mayday!, and have been working together for a few years, though with little impact before their YouTube debut. Liner notes on this first release credit Bernbiz for all the words and Luthor for all the writing, playing and arranging of the music on the album. Clearly, each half of the duo has his own marked territory. The group's bio touts Luthor's past accomplishments, listing work for the Discovery Channel and various Adult Swim spots, the details of which I can hardly imagine, but I suspect he'll be the real gem that reveals itself out of this whole project. As much as Mayday! insists on declaring a "hodgepodge of styles" as its own style, it's really Luthor who makes this happen. With production that draws heavily on rock, and thick guitar licks on tracks like "Angles" one minute, and then pulls out soulful choral vocals for the background on "MACRO/Micro" in the next, it's the music that stands out on this album. Bernbiz's skills as a rapper are decent enough, but his style and lyrics are forgettable -- the kiss of death for an MC. At the same time though, Luthor is scratching samples over tinkering keyboards in "Chasing Ghosts", a highlight of the album, and then playing with layering and old-school drum breaks on "Beef"; it's entertaining and interesting. It's not Bernbiz's words that keep the record playing, it's the freshness of that eclectic hodgepodge that Luthor creates here. And that at least is a far more complex quality than anything YouTube could properly convey.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.


Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.