People always joke about the member of the band who plays the tambourine, but think about it: Where would live music be without the back-up dancer, the ludicrously outfitted hand-clapper, the guy whose sole job is to amp up the crowd by shouting, “Hoookayyyy!” over and over? Not only can they be critical members of rock bands and rap crews, but it’s also a role that can lead to a solo career — both Jay-Z and Tupac started out as hype men. Below, we’ve collected the best representatives of the most underrated role in music.
Bob Nastanovich, Pavement
Bob Nastanovich isn’t a hype man alone — he sometimes sings lead vocals and plays various instruments — but his essential function in Pavement is to be their unofficial screamer, time-keeper, and enthusiastic repeater of lyrics. His spastic dancing and general racket-making are some of the most energetic and fun parts of a Pavement song. Just imagine “Conduit for Sale” without that yelping, and you’ll know what we mean.