Remember the “Choke me like you hate me, but you love me” audio which went viral on TikTok with over 300 thousand videos to its credit? The emo rap—guaranteed to leave you either scared or turned on—features a reclusive creator on the rise with an entire ‘simp army’ on his trail.
Introducing Corpse Husband, a ‘faceless’ influencer recognised by his deep, aching voice and veiny, metal-ring-adorned hands. Kicking off his YouTube career 5 years ago, the creator initially lent his voice to horror-story narrations of true crimes dedicated to a niche set of audience. Corpse Husband later branched out into music with his debut single ‘Miss You!’ followed up with ‘White Tee’ and ‘E-Girls Are Ruining My Life!’—which has amassed a whopping 100 million streams on Spotify, ranking second on the platform’s ‘Viral 50 songs’ chart. His career later skyrocketed, thanks to the game Among Us, TikTok and his cult-like following.
Over the pandemic, Corpse Husband started streaming popular video games including Among Us with other internet personalities like PewDiePie, Sykkuno and…AOC! “I can’t get over this dude’s voice. It’s so deep,” AOC gasped on a Twitch livestream hosted alongside high-profile streamers like Pokimane and Corpse Husband to encourage viewers to vote. The congresswoman admitted to being distracted by the creator’s voice, giving enough and more content for fans to create viral compilations of their interactions on YouTube.
Corpse Husband is huge on TikTok. And by huge, I mean 1.4 billion views on #corpse dedicated to musings about the anonymous influencer. His impact on the platform can be further traced with a total of 4.4 million followers with just three videos on his page. Did I mention that these videos only feature his hands? Black and white filtered, Corpse is simped for photos and videos highlighting the back of his veiny hands. Adorned with chunky metal rings, chipped nail polish and heart-beaded bracelets, Corpse’s #onlyhands have broken various platforms they have been posted to.
On top of his online famous status, the creator also launched his own line of merchandise which includes exclusive posters, beanies, hoodies, face masks and more. The online store, which went live as a Christmas gift to Corpse’s fans, reportedly crashed for many as the website received tremendous traffic across the globe. Most of the merchandise sold out like hotcakes in under 5 minutes.
In other news, his cult-like fan following have rented and flown a plane over his favourite restaurant, Sizzler’s Steakhouse, to promote his latest single ‘Agoraphobic’ on Spotify. The fandom has additionally helped secure a coveted billboard for the creator at New York Times Square, trending both #corpseinthesky and #corpsebillboard on Twitter.
You may go like “Oh, this is nothing new in influencer culture though.” Just in case you missed out, let me remind you of the fact that Corpse Husband is an anonymous, ‘faceless’ influencer. Nobody knows his real name, in fact in a recent and only interview Corpse Husband has done, he admitted that those around him in real life have no clue of his online fame. “I come across as sketchy to everybody,” the creator said, confessing to the fact that he can’t answer simple questions like “What do you do for a living?” and “How do you make all this money?”.
While some details like his age and country of residence are available to the public, the creator brushes aside all hopes of a face reveal coming from him. “With how the internet is, it’ll probably inevitably happen against my will,” he admitted in a recent Minecraft livestream. The creator further confessed the fact that people’s expectations of his appearance have peaked to unachievable standards at the moment. “When you have millions of people going like ‘I think he looks like this’ and you look dramatically different from all of them, it’s like you’re going to let down a lot of people at once and I’d rather not do that,” he added.
Another reason for Corpse masking his identity is his struggle with severe anxiety, presently heightened due to his fame. Although a small portion of the internet constantly tries to coax him into a face reveal, majority of his fans have arisen in support of the creator’s personal decision by respecting his privacy. The creator has also been open about his chronic illness and conditions like fibromyalgia, thoracic outlet syndrome and GERD, the latter of which is partially responsible for his super-deep voice.
The rise of Corpse Husband as a global phenomenon signals an overarching trend of anonymous influencers—constantly rewriting norms for content creation in a digital age. Bygone is the era of a public figure’s influence centred around their physical existence. It’s time to embrace reclusive creators—basing their success entirely around their wholesome content and personality. Thereby engaging a loyal fanbase willingly tattooing their icon’s hair strands and selling out their favourite perfumes in less than a few hours.
Eboys, also spelled e boys or e-boys, meaning electronic boys, are good for this generation. Yes, I said it. Although perceived as an un-cool teen cliche as so many subcultures before (the e-boy name is often dragged with the same derision as hipsters in the 2010s or early aughts emo boys), they are also shedding light into the gen Z male psyche and dismantling toxic masculinity while they’re at it.
The fascination with eboy culture is often talked about in the media with the same enchantment as emo boy culture once was, and although the two subcultures are 10 years apart, the similarities between them are apparent. Both subcultures springing up at a time of the digital revolution, they mark the change of how masculine emotions, fashion, sexuality, and mental health are expressed—which feels timely as the world is going into deeper turmoil. Today’s teen boys are navigating through political, environmental, and social unrest while dismantling conventions of toxic masculinity in their everyday lives. From eboys’ thirst trapping (the internet term of posting raunchy photos on social media for attention) the internet with their alt-emo eboy outfits and sharp jawlines to the slow and inevitable revival of emo music, emo culture is being refiltered for gen Z through the eboy.
So, where did they come from? As it’s the internet where this movement was born and where it thrives, no one is quite sure, but most say they appeared around 2018 when TikTok grew in popularity. Many users described eboy culture as a mix of emo and rap, referencing rappers Yung Lean, Lil Peep, and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way as its forefathers. Sartorially, eboys are a mish-mash of BDSM harnesses and chains, 90s Leonardo Dicaprio curtain hairstyles and K-pop, wearing dangly earrings and shirts unbuttoned to the navel. Typically they are middle-class, white, suburban teen boys, producing clothing transformations, lip-syncing, or the signature eye roll and temple tap on TikTok. If you have no idea what any of those things are here is a Youtube tutorial for your viewing pleasure.
It’s hard not to see the parallels between the decade-apart subcultures. Both explored sexual fluidity and mental health, but in different contexts. Emo boys sported eyeliner and girl jeans and kissed guys (whether or not they were actually queer) while eboys express sartorial and sexual openness in a non-performative way as these liberations are now the social norm.
Don’t get me wrong, eboys can be annoying as hell. According to the countless Reddit threads of users, eboys are seen as “talentless fuckboys pretending to be lonely and depressed for clout and attention”. One Reddit user labelled them “as just another term for 2019 emo but a more socially acceptable version as an eboy”. As they are rarely seen in real life, eboys experience very little backlash for their looks, unlike their predecessors, who were ridiculed or even physically harassed for the way they looked. Performatively sad, these boys could easily be seen as posers, but they don’t care. Perhaps that’s the point. It’s not about authenticity, it’s about aesthetics—it’s the bad boy persona without actually being bad.
But eboys are more woke than their emo forefathers and mothers (Billie Eilish I’m looking at you). As emo ethos collides with gen Z ideals, e-boy culture represents the rejection of what it means to be a ‘man’. As toxic masculinity is slowly breaking down, the entire definition of masculinity is changing. Compared to the mid-2000s when emo boys were constantly ridiculed for being too feminine or expressing their emotions, gen Z guys are more open to talking about their feelings and comfortable dressing however they want. Arguably, gen Z’s are free to feel good about themselves and care about improving their looks. Throughout numerous Reddit threads, teen guys discussed jokingly (or not) how transforming into an eboy would solve their problems. They want to be desired, and as sexual orientation is loosely defined, the aim for eboys is not to attract just girls or guys– but to attract everyone. They don’t want to be the players, they want to be the prize.
Eboy culture also has a healthy view on drugs and sex. Similar to straight edge emos, these eboys don’t really promote drugs in their videos. Perhaps an occasional cigarette, Juul or joint, but drugs don’t seem to be the go-to vice for them. It’s clout that they’re addicted to.
Whether it’s a subculture or an aesthetic movement, what’s wrong with a bit of self-love? The eboys aren’t promoting drug-use or causing harm to anyone. Thirst for public approval and a desire to belong and not belong at the same time isn’t a description of eboys but of teenagehood overall. The revival of emo culture is so timely because of the 21st-century male. But this time around eboys will be seen in a different light. So let the eye rolls and temple taps commence…