Esports And Hip Hop: Where Business, Tech And Culture Collide

Written by Dana Sanchez
esports hip hop
MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 13: Drake performs on stage during the Drake Aubrey and The Three Migos Tour at American Airlines Arena on November 13, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Credit: MPI10 / MediaPunch /IPX

Esports is the fastest-growing audience in sports, set to compete with traditional sports as it advances in popularity from niche interest to massive appeal. Entertainers are joining investors and brands as they rush to align with major players, upping esports’ cool factor while elevating name recognition and excitement around events and apparel, Matt Foley writes for Ozy.

Nothing signals mainstream acceptance quite like an invasion of pop culture — especially hip hop, Foley writes. Hip-hop stars Drake and Travis Scott were recently players on “Fortnite: Battle Royale,” showing up on esports megastar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ Twitch stream.

It’s a match made in heaven, Adam Fitch reported for eSports Insider.

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“Rap music frequently tops sales charts; gamers wear the brands donned and created by hip hop artists, and their respective audiences cross over massively,” Fitch reported. “Young males are undeniably huge consumers of both gaming and hip hop, and that’s a big reason in why the industries are overlapping. As the esports industry rises in value and hype, hip hop moguls and entrepreneurs are lapping up investment opportunities that are presented to them. “

A year ago, there was no sign of an esports-rap convergence, according to Foley. “Today, artists like Drake, Soulja Boy and Meek Mill, and entertainment executives like Scooter Braun, are planting their stakes in the ground, on Twitch streams and through esports-themed music festivals, marketing deals and apparel collaborations.”

In 2018, at least four festivals saw a convergence of esports and music, Foley reported. These included Hyperplay by Riot Games and MTV, Harrisburg University Esports Festival by the university and iHeartMedia, PLAY Festival by Insomniac, and the ICBC e-Sports & Music Festival by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.