Verb’s Top 5 Hype Men: Bobby Byrd

“But my last choice –my favorite—all time Hype Man—
Bobby Byrd
Listen to them James Brown records from the 60s—On Sex Machine–he’s the guy sayin’
“Get on up” after James says “Stay on the scene” –“Get on up”
Sex Machine don’t work—none of these old James songs work without him
“Stay on the scene! Get on up! Like a sex machine! Get on up!”- Verb from HYPE MAN p. 84

Verb’s last and favorite of his top 5 hype men is Bobby Byrd!

Bobby Byrd was long time Hype man, and co-vocalist to James Brown.  He is best known for his performances in Licking Stick – Licking StickGet Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine and Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved. Bobby Byrd and James Brown met in a Georgia youth detention facility where Byrd’s local baseball team played the prison team of which Brown was a member. It was Bobby Byrd’s family that sponsored his release and took him in afterwards

Check out the video of James Brown and Bobby Byrd performing “Sex Machine” and you will get a great picture of what Verb is describing in the play:

Verb’s Top 5 Hype Men: Sen Dog

“Sen Dog from Cypress Hill
“Feelin insane got no brains!”

— Verb in HYPE MAN, p. 84

Verb’s fourth favorite hype man is Sen Dog from the rap group Cypress Hill, who first came up in the West Coast rap scene of the early 1990s.



Cuban-born Senen Reyes, or Sen Dog, is most known for his performances in the Cypress Hill tracks “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” “Rap Superstar,” and “Insane In the Brain,” which Verb quotes with Sen Dog’s famous line above. While B-Real led on vocals, Sen Dog’s deep voice added a contrasting element as he barked ad-libs that went on to become memorable earworms.

Hear Sen Dog’s iconic line in the music video for “Insane in the Brain” below:

Sen Dog took a hiatus from Cypress Hill in the late 1990s to form the rap/rock group SX-10, which blended Funk and Latin influences. More recently, he’s also released music with his heavy metal band Powerflo. Check him out as the front man in Powerflo’s music video for “Where I Stay”:

Verb’s Top 5 Hype Men: Spliff Star

“Spliff star from flipmode” – Verb in HYPE MAN pg. 84

The third hype man that Verb mentions in his top 5 is Spliff Star from the Flipmode Squad.

Called one of the greatest Hype Men in rap history by, Spliff Star was best friend and side kick to Busta Rhymes from a young age. After Spliff decided that working the streets was not as good as a career in hip hop, he joined forces with Busta Rhymes and their careers took off in the mid 1990s. Their dynamic is packed with chemistry, support, and vibing each other in a way that creates cohesive and flowing performance.


Verb’s Top 5 Hype Men: 2 Big MC

“Too Big MC. He was MC Hammer’s hype man…”- Verb in HYPE MAN, p.84

The second hype man on Verb’s top 5 is 2 Big MC.

He is most recognized for his work on MC Hammer’s 1990 album “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt Em,” and he would bring an immense energy to performances alongside MC Hammer. 2 Big MC would hype up the audience during dance breaks while MC Hammer would break it down with his back up dancers. Notably, “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt Em” was a huge commercial success, selling 10 million copies and making it one of the highest selling albums of all time.

2 Big MC later went on to perform as a solo artist on his own record “He’s The King of Hype.” Get a look at his energy (and some sweet throwback dance moves) below:

Verb’s Top 5 Hype Men: Flavor Flav

“So obviously Flavor Flav is the diamond standard” — Verb in HYPE MAN, p. 84

The first well-known hype man that Verb name drops in the play is Flavor Flav, a founding member of the group Public Enemy.

Flav’s onstage persona is playful and loud, and he’s best known for yelling his name or interjecting his catchphrase “Yeahhh, boyeeee!” during performances. His primary role in the group — getting crowds excited and pumped up — was crucial in bringing some levity to balance the group’s politically-charged music. He’s also known for his flamboyant appearance, often sporting an oversize clock around his neck and wearing bold clothing and accessories that add even more flair to his hype man antics. See him in action below: