There is a general feeling among the videogame enthusiast community that rappers are not the greatest evangelists for videogames. In fact, I think there’s more than a little resentment at times for the way the hip hop community treats videogames. There are the unfortunate celebrity cash-ins, the songs espousing videogames as nothing more than a notch on the belt of success and the Soulja Boy YouTube videos boasting his headshot prowess. There have been a few success stories, mostly from Japan, but for the most part there remains a wide gap between the two worlds of enthusiast videogamers and hip hop culture.
Despite these setbacks, I can’t help but feel like we’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities these two rich cultures can offer each other. This week’s issue is a glimpse into that future; a look at how far both hip hop and videogames have come in giving each other the recognition they really deserve. Because it seems ridiculous that a few unfortunate properties should become the sole representation for a culture that’s revolutionized the way we think about music and the power of language. And this week’s contributors are saying that it is ridiculous, that there are games that have aimed to capture the deeper significance of hip hop and that there are musical artists who understand videogames as being more than a collection of headshots and kills.
The title of one of the pieces this week is “And You Don’t Pause,” a clever reference to the often used hip hop lyric “And you don’t stop.” It’s a mantra the videogame industry would do well to note because, as the articles this week point out, the hip hop and videogame worlds have too much to learn from each other to assume it starts and ends with a 50 Cent vanity project. DJ Hero and Scratch: The Ultimate DJ would seem to be two steps in the right direction, but there will be more successes at integration, from both hip hop artists and game developers. As always, hip hop and videogames won’t pause, marching and flowing to the beat, towards the future.