Who's that on the M-I-C
Lyrically it's Doctor B
Not Master P, but I'm still OG
Gotta get this paper casually
I first met Dr. B in a decidedly out-of-place Golfland arcade in sleepy, suburban Castro Valley, CA on a rainy day some four years ago, for a Capcom vs. SNK 2 tournament he was running. He stands at a lanky six feet or so, which is inconveniently tall for a stand-up arcade cabinet, and in the dim, garish lighting of the arcade, he looks kind of like Dave Chappelle.
The local scene has long since faded from its past weekly tournament glory, and the arcade has fallen from its once competitive heights to be reclaimed by bored high school kids who want to show off their Dance Dance Revolution skills, but Dr. B, also known as Brandon Chaney, has refused to follow suit. One moment he is in Pomona, CA for CVS2 national championships, the next he is coincidentally walking behind me at a Buca di Beppo in downtown San Francisco. Maybe a few months later he's in Oregon. Or finishing art school. Or, in this case, recording tracks with his hip hop crew, Superior Tek.
We bringin hip hop back
Energetically and medically
we patchin s**t up
from the abuse of mediocre n****z rappin s**t up
Superficially, it would seem that hip hop and videogaming are very different beasts; certainly the predominant media image of the former is black and the latter is white. But our world is ever so much more complex than our crude racial designations will admit, and Eminem's success is by now just as much a fact of life as Vivendi's upcoming 50 Cent: Bulletproof. But while Snoop Dogg, 50, Def Jam and other prominent hip hop heads have found themselves faithfully exported to the world of PS2, crossovers the other way have not been quite so common. Except for MC Frontalot, who spits his own brand of "nerdcore" rap, authentic representations of gamers in hip hop have been few and far between. Enter Superior Tek, a group of guys named Dr. B, Crescent-X, Oliverian, LAX Tactics, Nef, Brood and Beneficial, who collectively manage to game without being too geeky and rap without being too gangsta.
Spider web, spider sting,
do your job, hey
we reppin' the bay and it's S-T-K
we straight from the west but we not Kanye
"We grew up playing fighting games," Dr. B tells me. "All our lives playing games like Street Fighter 2 and Bloody Roar. Me and Crescent-X have been best friends since high school, and we always did music, so we just fused that s**t together. We met LAX through another guy we met playing Capcom vs. SNK 2 at the campus arcade, and he had a friend named Beneficial who made beats." He pauses for a second and continues, "You remember Oliver from Sunnyvale [Golfland]? The guy who was hella good at CVS2?" I nod tentatively; I remember seeing the name on a few sets of tournament brackets somewhere, but it's been a while, and I can't attach a face to the name. "Yeah," Dr. B continues, "he's [STK member] Oliverian. He's our ghost producer, kind of like Chad from the Neptunes, just in the background." His excitement - whether about hip hop or about being interviewed - is gradually growing. Without being prompted, he exclaims, "It's our love for music and our bond to video games and each other keep us motivated to make it to the top! You can quote me on that, just for starters."
Blast like Goku
I flow so true
Lyrics that go through
you and your crew
Later, Dr. B mentions that he had just spent a recent weekend in Las Vegas for the Evolution 2005 National Fighting Game Championships. Unlike previous years, where those in the know might only know of Dr. B for his unorthodox tactics, this year brought Superior Tek together, in classic hip hop style, as a promotion team on the sinful streets of Vegas, selling the album to club-goers and competitive gamers alike. "We played at Club Ice, we freestyled with fans in the streets and in the lobby of the MGM Grand...we won Evolution by letting them feel our vibe," he says to me.