New doc explores the rise of WorldStarHipHop

Lee “Q” O’Denat started WorldStarHipHop in 2001 as an outlet for New York City mixtapes. Today it’s a media empire that once turned down $15 million in investments so it could remain an R-rated site that brings you the latest in street fights, police brutality, and, yes, sexually explicit rap videos.

Today it’s an undeniable reporting tool for anyone with a phone that runs on seedy editorial ethics but is a torching vehicle for truth to power. 

“You have to look at the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the ugly stuff in one page,” O’Denat says in a new documentary from the Verge. 

“It’s a battle cry,” he adds about the phrase “WorldStar!” as often heard from the lens of its amateur content creators. Usually before two dudes fight outside a nightclub. 

It’s a compelling, borderline inspiring oral history from a Queens, N.Y., high school dropout turned media mogul. 

Screengrab via The Verge/YouTube

Ramon Ramirez

Ramon Ramirez

Ramon Ramirez is the news director, and formerly the Dot's entertainment editor and evening editor. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Grantland, Washington City Paper, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Monitor.