*The man who launched WorldStarHipHop.com has died.
Lee O’Denat, a.k.a. “Q,” died in his sleep Monday night, according to TMZ. He was 43.
The CEO of WorldStar was 33 when began the website in 2005 by posting mixtapes. It gradually progressed into a mixture of rap videos, celebrity interviews, sports clips and the latest viral sensation.
He told the New York Times in November 2015: “People may be offended by some of the content, but, hey, the Internet is not a censorship boat. We’re the Carnival cruise, man. You don’t have to log on.”
So far, no word on the cause of death.
Via the NYT:
Mr. O’Denat, 43, is of Haitian heritage and was raised by a single mother. He started working at 14, initially at a fast-food restaurant (he lasted a week), then at Circuit City, where he fell in love with computers. He discovered the web back in the dial-up days.
“I was telling people, ‘This is the future,’ ” he said. “They were like, ‘This is going nowhere.’ They laughed at me.”
Mr. O’Denat, a high school dropout, started his first digital venture, a pornographic site, in 1999. It failed. Next he created an e-commerce site to sell mix tapes by DJ Whoo Kid, a friend from Queens who collaborated with 50 Cent. It was moderately successful but too narrowly focused.
It wasn’t until the mid-aughts, when YouTube became popular, that Mr. O’Denat said he “saw another curve, the future of everything,” and created a hip-hop-inspired site that was 100 percent videos. But while YouTube was a vast media ocean, Mr. O’Denat’s WorldStar would be a concentrated dose of off-the-chain.