The History of WorldStarHipHop

From its beginnings as a mixtape seller to one of the internet’s most controversial outlets, here is a brief timeline of WorldStarHipHop.

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Image via WorldStar Hip-hop

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Many of the profiles about the late WorldStarHipHop founder Lee “Q” O’Denat include two of his most common defenses: That the site features the “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of urban culture, and how it’s the “CNN of the ghetto.”

Whether you truly believe WorldStar is simply Chuck D as a millennial with a cellphone camera is on you. But what’s objectively true is that the website gave the people what they wanted: Notably, music exclusives, viral bits of comedy, violent fight videos, and sex acts. Though it’s past its prime in 2018, WorldStar was more ubiquitous than your favorite blogs during the height of its popularity.

In 2008, cellphone footage was becoming the primary medium, and social media was on its way to becoming the standard way of connecting. WorldStar capitalized on those innovations and dished out viral content at an expeditious rate. The famed videos often featured a victim, but the fact their popularity perhaps says more about society than the site’s creator.

“People want to watch an ugly side of someone then blame us for showing it, but what about the people actually doing it?” Q said in 2014. “Why click on it? It’s like, why watch porno on HBO at midnight? You have the choice to watch what you want. The remote control is in your hand.” With Q’s logic, WorldStarHipHop is only giving us what we want.

Q left behind a complicated legacy. According to some, Worldstar championed urban culture; others questioned whether that image of urban culture was worth selling in the first place, especially if it confirmed black people’s worst stereotypes to some. Either way, he created a cultural phenomenon, and we’ll always remember him for that. From its begins as a G-Unit mixtape seller to one of the internet’s most controversial outlets, this is a brief history of WorldStarHipHop.

Sept 11, 2001: Q Launches


Aug. 9, 2005: WorldStarHipHop Launches

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2007: Hackers Take Down Site

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Jan. 2008: WorldStar Relaunches in Current Form

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Jan. 5, 2008: Masked Man Takes Responsibility for Killing Stack Bundles

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April 19, 2008: Bill O’Reilly Attacks WorldStar

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WorldStar became one of Bill O’Reilly’s many hip-hop adjacent targets. The pundit took issue with a video in which a child threatens to kill former President George W. Bush. The video was removed from YouTube, but stayed on WorldStar. O’Reilly, of course, had a fit, and called for the Secret Service to investigate the child’s parents and Q. The founder wasn’t that hype about the cable news exposure. “I’m like, ‘Whoa I’m just the video guy, why aren’t you going after YouTube’s CEO? That’s where I got it from,’” he told Gawker. “People kept talking about us, telling me we were on Fox News. The media outside of the internet space, when people talk about us, freaks me out.”

April 27, 2008: WorldStar Lands Its First Major Premiere

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In 2008, Ace Hood was a few years away from “Bugatti” and DJ Khaled wasn’t quite pop’s most ubiquitous hypeman yet. WorldStar was still fairly early in its upswing, too, but DJ Khaled had enough foresight to offer Ace Hood’s debut single, “Cash Flow,” as an exclusive. “Khaled saw we were growing fast, and we got that first exclusive video,” Q told Gawker in 2014. “And that kinda made people realize we just didn’t have crazy videos, but we premiered music videos, too.” “Cash Flow” would become the first premiere of many.

Nov. 13, 2009: 50 Cent Sues WorldStar for Using His Likeness

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Aug. 24, 2010: Kat Stacks

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Though she’s become somewhat of a “Who?” in 2018, there’s no such thing as a comprehensive history of WorldStar without Kat Stacks. The former stripper’s breakout video featured her airing out Soulja Boy for allegedly being a cokehead who "couldn't get it up." She’d continue dishing out on her sex romps with the likes of Bow Wow and T-Pain. That rumor about Young Money CEO Mack Maine allegedly rooming with Gudda Gudda started because of her.

However, in 2015, Kat Stacks claimed in a Hot 97 interview that she was getting paid by WorldStar to concoct those stories, (Q never responded to these claims). She also dated Q for a while, though the couple split sometime before the interview. Most recently, Stacks was beefing with fellow promiscuous internet star Celina Powell.

Jan. 24, 2011: WorldStar Gets Knocked Offline, 50 Cent Claims Responsibility

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Nov. 8, 2011: Yelling “Worldstar” Becomes a Thing

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Almost a year later, a group of teenagers jumped 25-year-old security guard Daniel Endara after he chastised them for spitting on the subway car floor. On the surface, this was fairly average WorldStar material, but a New York feature pointed out that this is one of the first times you heard someone shouting “WorldStar” in the midst of an altercation. “[I]t wasn’t until Daniel Endara’s L‑train stomping that WorldStar went meta,” said the feature. The moment not only symbolized how much of a household name Q’s brand had become, but also the violence it was readily associated with. The WorldStar chant became so popular that two years later, Childish Gambino used it as the basis for and sampled it in Because The Internet's "Worldstar."

2011-12: WorldStar Reaches Peak Popularity

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In 2011, web traffic and ranking site Alexa ranked WorldStar as the 278th most visited URL in the States, ahead of CBS and Slate. At one point in 2012, it ranked at 301st place, beating NBA and Gawker.

March 24, 2014: 50 Cent Wins Lawsuit

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Aug. 5, 2014: WorldStarHipHop Movie in the Works

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Nov. 2, 2015: Q Says He Turned Down $40 Million Offer


Jan. 10, 2017: MTV2 Announces WorldStar TV

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Jan. 24, 2017: Lee “Q” O’Denat Dies


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