I usually can’t stand the appearance of music sharing websites. I often find that they are busy- crowded with pop-ups, advertisements, and unnecessary images that make the pages difficult to load. Over the past few years that I have been visiting Hot New Hip Hop (http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/) I’ve noticed many changes to the site’s appearance.
Currently, the website looks a lot like the music sharing websites I just described. Although there is a lot going on, the appearance is still very organized. A toolbar for playing a playlist is at the very top of the page, next is an advertising banner, and then comes the header. It is interesting that the header isn’t at the very top of the page. It is attention grabbing, though, with “hnhh” in large red letters and “HOTNEWHIPHOP” to the right of that (maybe a little redundant). The navigation bar below the header allows the user to explore different parts of the site, but it’s clear the authors of the site want the attention on the front page. Headlines like “Featured Mixtapes” “Latest News” and “Today” make the rhetoric of this page scream new, new, new! Personally, I visit hot new hip hop because I am looking for the newest music, so their rhetorical approach must be working.
The aesthetics of the page are interesting as well. The background is a light color and very plain, the features with graphics are contained to the top of the page for the most part, and the rest of the content of the site is minimal. Scrolling down, the user will find a simple list of songs which can be clicked on to download or played right from the site. Each song has a sort of rating next to it, but only if the site authors consider it “HOTTTTT” or “VERY HOTTTT”. The words appear next to the song in capital, red letters. Red, gray, white, and black are the site’s colors. This keeps things simple, and makes the red really stick out for those attention grabbing ratings and headlines.
As far as relationality goes, I think this site proves relatable for anyone who follows current hip-hop music. “Current” should be stressed because as expressed earlier, this site focuses on everything new. One wouldn’t visit hot new hip hop looking for “throwback” jams or iconic hip-hop songs from the 1990’s. Users would relate to the language used as well, like how the songs are rated as “HOT” rather than something like “popular” or “exceptional”. For this reason, we can conclude that HNHH is targeting a specific demographic, namely young hip-hop heads.
The affect that the page has is very bold, very informal, and fast-paced. Looking at the page now, there was new music posted as recent as 12 minutes ago. This makes the user want to check back to the site frequently. The focus on the songs as one long list gives off the affect that the site is all about the music- not the drama of the music industry or what current events are happening (although there is navigation for pages that have celebrity news). The site makes the user feel up to date on what the hottest music of the day/week/month is.