This video still made possible by the good people at World Star Hip Hop.
If you hear someone yell, "World Star Hip Hop" in public, you're likely near a street brawl or a public sex act.
WorldStarHipHop.com (WSHH) is a video aggregating site out of New York covering public fights, sex and, occasionally, hip-hop.
Anyone can send in videos. The most vulgar fights/sex videos get uploaded, provided those four magic words are uttered during the filming.
Last Sunday at around 2:30 pm, there was occasion to shout out "World Star Hip Hop" as an inebriated couple were filmed having sex on a subway platform at Spadina station. The video was sent to WSHH and posted.
In late November, the "World Star Hip Hop" name-drop was heard outside a downtown fast food spot where a group of teenage girls viciously beat up a woman on the sidewalk. Again, it was filmed, submitted and posted.
I'd describe both videos as "hard to watch." But both went viral, with local media piling on.
Expect more local videos like this to come: WSHH is getting ready to launch a Toronto branch.
The website of World Star Hip Hop Canada were set up this spring, the domain registered anonymously.
WSHH Canada spent the summer trolling for "affiliate" sites to spread its content. (Torstar has partnered with official "affiliates" of WSHH, sharing content across some of its sites.)
It has yet to launch officially, though it has obviously already made an impression.
Based on the success of the American site, which currently ranks higher than sites like MTV and Travelocity in page views, WSHH Canada has a very good chance of becoming popular.
And for a city that dropped its jaw at the site of public sex in the subway, it may also be eye-opening.
Clicking on a WSHH link is sometimes like taking a peek through the gates of hell. It shows humans at their most inhuman.
In the last year, the site posted videos of a man having sex with a woman while freestyle rapping to a crowd at a house party, a woman dragged into the middle of the street by her hair and beaten, people having sex in the parking lot of a football stadium, and instances of a game called Knockout King, in which a random innocent person is sucker-punched so hard that he or she is knocked unconscious.
WSHH does post a large volume of hip-hop videos, true to its name, but even rappers object to it: 50 Cent is trying to have it shut down.
So is this site spreading brutal behaviour or simply documenting it?
World Star Hip Hop or its Toronto branch gave me no answers to this question. But I would argue it's the age-old "holding a mirror to society" question.
Sites like these, unfortunately, are here to stay. Shunning them is pushing this underbelly of society even further under. Instead of smashing the mirror, it might be better to take a good hard look into it.