Queens rapper Shirt sparked a bit of a buzz after he boldly flipped the New York Times website template into a fake article styled to give him props. Standing out in the crowded rap marketplace for his clever stunt, Shirt broke down his reasons for the article and more in a recent interview.
Shirt has been toiling on the underground since 2009, releasing effective bangers over the past few years. However, gaining traction beyond a few downloads here and there seemed elusive until last week.
Shirt took the New York Times layout, using a similar URL, and shaped an article about himself under the guise of writer Jon Caramanica. The article went viral and placed Shirt’s name on the minds of fans wondering who was the man behind the words.
Fusion sat down with Shirt for a brief chat to discuss the New York Times stunt, his aims with music and offering background on his other endeavors.
Where did the fake New York Times idea come from? What was the hardest part about the actual execution of the whole site?
The idea came because I constantly want to push forward and get people excited. Do something different. I’ve kind of learned to leave the rap alone and let it write itself, and let it move how it wants.
I wanted to do something that’d have high share value. Whether you’ve been with me for a while and would go crazy if I was actually on the front page of the Times, or you’ve never heard of me, and think faking the site in this way is a great, bold move, on a basic level I just wanted to make something compelling enough people might share