It’s no secret that hip-hop has been an integral part of gaming for decades. But the two’s marriage to the wildly growing esports industry is a sight to behold. Whether it’s Drake, Travis Scott, Juju Smith and world-renowned gamer Ninja breaking the internet by teaming up for a game of Fortnite, or the NBA sanctioning a full throttle NBA 2K League, pro-gamers have become legit celebrities in their own right, reported Vibe.
It’s a match made in content creation heaven, according to ESports Insider. The synergy between the art forms – and yes gaming is an art form – is birthed from the authenticity the major players bring to them, said Kevin Mitchell. The founder of the College Esports Expo (CEX) also has a lengthy background in the music industry.
“There’s a high level of authenticity required with gaming; it’s not anyone trying to be something they’re not. That was always a staple of hip-hop. Also, the power of both seemingly came out of nowhere, driven by a fringe component of society: Latinos and African Americans from the streets who didn’t have an outlet and gamers holed up in their basements with nobody paying attention to them,” Mitchell told Vibe.
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The appeal to the masses is evident. In addition to Ninja raking in half a million dollars monthly, top tier colleges and universities are expanding their curriculums to focus more heavily on esports and offering scholarships to gifted gamers. Many prominent sports and entertainment figures are also investing in the industry.
The world-renowned esports brand FaZe Clan was ranked No. 2 on the Bleacher Report’s Power 50 Shake It Up List in 2018 and gets more immense socila engagement. There are also other esports companies whose value is on the rise.