The Evolution of Rhyheim Shabazz
If I were writing an essay on the essence of Rhyheim Shabazz’s Pornography, my thesis would probably be the video above. Although it is one of the last clips shared in his OnlyFans, it is representative of hundreds of similar videos we have seen before Shabazz 2.0. The video is also the perfect synthesis to explain why I have liked Rhyheim’s work so much since his beginning.
Despite how distracting Rhyheim’s physical beauty is, his Pornography is about his partners. Perhaps it is my personal biases. When I am having sex, it is the feeling of delivering pleasure to my partner that turns me on. Therefore, when I am watching porn, my focus is on the bottoming performer.
And the parade of lovers delivering their most lively performances ever is endless. This feature runs along Rhyheim’s porn timeline, from Beta to Shabazz 2.0. There are a few exceptions, but the exception makes the rule.
It is not a secret that our friend is a pervert. As we learned in our first interview, Rhyheim was making homemade sex movies long before becoming a porn star.
We said above that Elijah’s video represented hundreds of similar clips, exactly like Liam Cyber’s. However, there are probably as many videos that will never be made public. Before Rhyheim came out in his Tim Tales debut and the first months after, these were the Shabazz Beta times.
Like most homemade productions, there were no cameramen, and the movies were mainly POV porn. However, the quality of the interactions was outstanding; and besides, the performers were often popular adult entertainers. The latter probably contributed significantly to making a difference.
Because of one simple reason: we were able to compare. We could contrast these stars’ performances for conventional studios and other independent outlets against their interaction with Big Bro. The contrast was eloquent.
Not only did we, porn consumers, notice the disparity. Other porn performers also did. Soon, recognized brands in the industry were flocking to ride the newcomer cock and document their joy. Stars with significant audiences were lining up to try the newbie.
The development of Shabazz Beta was primarily private. Once he went public, we soon moved to the next upgrade: Shabazz 1.0.
Shabazz 1.0 is a period of exponential growth in Rhyheim’s audience and the development and maturity of Neo Vanilla Pornography. Landmarks in Shabazz 1.0 were his scenes with Sean Zevran and Jay Alexander at the beginning and his international Brazilian orgies towards the end. Additionally, Rhyheim’s partnership with EyeFilmz becomes the core of what would later be The Cooperative.
The list of adult entertainers with years of career and influential audiences is long. Sean and Jay were probably the longest-lasting collaborators at the beginning of Shabazz 1.0. However, they are just two examples.
During Shabazz 1.0, inclusiveness becomes an essential feature in Neo Vanilla Porn. Not only was Rhyheim gaining audiences from performers with a profile similar to his. Besides, he was also targeting niche audiences, cannibalizing pornographies that had been flourishing only in the margins. As an illustration, we have his collaborations with Caged Jock, Kurt Jacobs, and Mister Dionysus, amongst many others.
During Shabazz 1.0, the partnership with EyeFilmz became essential to Rhyheim’s Pornography. Video filmed and produced with professional quality became the new standard for independent productions. From this core partnership, a new culture in porn work flourished.
The Cooperative is a creative collective never seen before in porn. It took collaboration between peers to highs never reached before. Brazil’s international productions helped develop this new work culture, but its spirit was present from the very beginning.
By consistently staying positive, adding audiences from different porn markets, and working collaboratively, Rhyheim Shabazz became the first gay male porn star to reach one million followers on Twitter.
Then, he suffered the first successful attack that took down his Twitter account. Losing a million followers earned with hard work was probably one of the experiences shaping the new upgrade: Shabazz 2.0.
That attack was not the first one but the first to succeed. Not only had Rhyheim suffered other personalized attacks. Besides, all independent porn creators saw radical changes in social media and porn outlets regulation. Therefore, we have one of the first features we highlight in Shabazz 2.0.
Diversification of partnerships
Shabazz 1.0 model was strong collaborations between peer creators, published in OnlyFans and JustForFans, and advertised on Twitter. Shabazz 2.0 adds new partnerships.
For the first time in the history of gay porn, an independent creator develops an association with a mainstream porn studio. TimTales shabazzian weekend seemed to herald a pioneering partnership, with Rhyheim as one of the studio’s talent hunters. Unfortunately, the tweet clueing on this partnership is gone with Rhyheim’s old account.
Also, for the first time in the history of gay porn, an independent creator partners with a mainstream blog. Str8upgayporn, a blog that has historically represented the interests of a few major gay porn studios, has found in Rhyheim a significant partner. They are publishing exclusive material and advertising the OnlyFans pages of members of The Cooperative side by side with mainstream studio advertisements.
This diversification is not only a response but also a consequence. The fact is that Rhyheim has become a porn powerhouse. There is no single studio capable of matching his production or his influence. The mainstream industry may not understand talent or good porn, but they know money.
They want Rhyheim bringing clicks to them and not anyone else. They want their “exclusive” performers riding Big Bro’s cock because it brings them more popularity than starring in their featured over-produced movies.
Additionally, there is a newsletter in the oven.
One of the most frequent criticisms of Rhyheim is his lack of versatility. During Shabazz 1.0, he rarely sucked dick on video or got his ass played.
After almost two months of upgrading to Shabazz 2.0, that seems to be changing. Rhyheim has probably appeared sucking dick on camera more often this new year than in all his previous productions. His partners are rimming him more often and even frotting their dicks on his ass.
However, I think it is shortsighted to focus on Rhyheim’s versatility or lack of. After all, he has the right to set limits to his privacy, and I cannot, as his critics do, assume that he is bottoming in private.
Rather than focusing on Rhyheim’s public persona limitations, I would pay more attention to his Pornography. His creation advocates for inclusivity and versatility. The guys in his crew are dropping fixed roles in flocks. I choose to celebrate that instead of bitching on alleged individual flaws.
After all, perhaps Rhyheim does not bottom in private, although we know he did it in the past. It is possible. I used to bottom now and then, the last time was 20 years ago, and I have presently no desire to do it. If I decide to bottom again, it will not be because some third parties want to watch me.
More group sex
Neo Vanilla Porn inclusivity brought group sex into mainstream practices. Rhyheim’s Proud Promiscuity quickly shifts from fucking with many different guys in a row to fucking each other altogether.
Sex as an open social experience is one of the most potent Neo Vanilla affirmations that has just become even more radical. Since Rhyheim is now in a committed relationship, not even Love overcomes Promiscuity. In his realm, only open couples are possible.
Perhaps it is too soon to tell, as Shabazz 2.0 installation just finished. I am sure there will be many minor updates coming soon. Yet, it is the logical continuation of Neo Vanilla’s unapologetically radical affirmation of sex.
More artificiality and aestheticism
Indeed, the most noticeable upgrade in Shabazz 2.0 is the stage. We have not seen natural or quotidian backgrounds so far this year. Instead, all the action takes place in a White Dimension, with a luxurious touch in details and terminations.
My first impression was not good. Out of all the upgrades in Shabazz 2.0, this is the one I like the least. To me, it just adds too much artificiality. I guess it is a way to respond to the call for changes.
I am not delusional. Porn is always artificial. However, natural backgrounds and regular bedrooms would never bore me. I do not even see them; they allow me to focus on what matters. As they are part of reality, they are non-stages. But now, we are in this White Dream Dimension that will always be a stage.
Let’s see what happens once I get used to it.
It is not a big blow because the action is still premium quality. The apparent increase in posing and aestheticism is not an obstacle for the performers delivering the best porn for me.
Fortunately, EyeFilmz‘s magic still works. Despite distracting backgrounds and props, he still manages to highlight the uniqueness in each model.
No drugs in Shabazz 2.0
Yep. It is not funny. Talking about artificiality. The ban on drugs is a big blow to Neo Vanilla Porn, which had normalized their recreational use. But we will not stay here. We know it was not the creators’ choice.
Less Rhyheim, more Cooperative
Collaborative work is not new in Shabazzian Porn. We have been talking about The Cooperative for a while. The continuous massive release of movies and photographs is not new either. Both have been at the core of the Shabazz brand beyond versions.
Grab the lube, my friends, because it is getting even better. In January and part of February, The Cooperative has released more material than any mainstream porn studio.
Shabazz 2.0 seems to be moving The Cooperative up to a new level. Rhyheim was mainly a facilitator, bringing the guys together and fostering creative interactions and circulating leaderships. When we coincided in Rio de Janeiro, the notes we took documented how the collaboration was present from the beginning of the scenes’ conceptions. I wonder whether he will continue this creative horizontal collaboration while taking a more assertive leadership on the business side.
Other porn stars observe with envy Rhyheim’s ability to summon and foster talent. They compare Rhyheim with a porn studio, blinded by jealousy. I foresee a future full of bitterness for them because The Cooperative is not like, but more than any studio.
Meanwhile, Rhyheim continues promoting and supporting new talent. Slowly, he seems to be stepping to a side, getting ready to leave the stages.
Waiting for Shabazz 3.0
As The Cooperative deploys its new Vision, we expect changes. Will these changes mean a jump to Shabazz 3.0? We do not know, but these are some of the instances where I am wondering:
I know that asking for more diversity from Neo Vanilla Porn may be too much. After all, inclusiveness and expanding the ground of acceptable sexual practices have always been at the core of The Cooperative’s spirit. Nevertheless, we can always add more diversity. Will we see trans creators? Will we see women?
Despite the diversification of outlets and networks, The Cooperative and other independent creators still depend on third parties. Will we see the development of independent websites? Will we find a way to become autonomous from banks and credit cards?
Porn is an educational tool and a political statement. Rhyheim has been eloquent throughout his Pornography but more discrete with his words and actions. However, he is now associated with Str8UpGayPorn, a blog with a thunderous anti-racist and anti-exploitation speech (let’s leave double standards aside for now). I wonder whether or not this association and a higher exposition in mainstream outlets will force him to become more politically outspoken.
A significant problem for the kind of collaborative work fostered by Rhyheim is replicating it. Right now, it is a peeve of Rhyheim’s exceptionality. How to encourage other clusters of independent creators to come together? When I witnessed The Cooperative in action, there were still open questions on the logistics. For instance, how much each creator has to bring and earn in collaborative productions? How to factor in their different audiences and popularity?
Rhyheim is stepping aside?
Big Bro does not like to be on the spot. His presence is still needed, as his magnetism for traffic and audiences is part of his exceptionality. However, he seems to be slowly stepping aside to embrace out-of-stage creative roles. The day he steps out of the screen, we will be probably heralding Shabazz 3.0.
Waiting for minor Updates in Shabazz 2.0
Do not tell anyone, but the only “minor” update I want to see is the staging. I happen to like a lot Rhyheim’s Pornography. When I hear criticism about the predictability and lack of variety, I get confused.
If you are one of those critics, understand me. I am not dismissing your opinion. I sincerely do not understand but do not want to argue with you. Not in this post.
Instead, I choose to look for commonalities between Rhyheim’s mindset and mine, anything that may explain my fondness.
It is well established that the man is a pervert, as I am. He likes creeping on his sleeping partners, as I do. Rhyheim likes kissing, being in control, eating ass, and driving his lovers to ecstasy, all things we have in common. Big Bro is unapologetically promiscuous and seems to prefer Black and Latino partners, although welcoming everyone, just what I do.
Perhaps those commonalities explain my Love for his Creations. Others look at Rhyheim as a performer and a sexual object and may become bored. My sexual objects, instead, are his partners. They are a never-ending parade, and he treats them as I would like to. How can I get bored?
Hasta la próxima pinga, amig@s!