GAME TIME: HIPHOPGAMER

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK | HIPHOPGAMER

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK | HIPHOPGAMER

INTERVIEW REALIFE

“THE ENTIRE ECO-SYSTEM ON WHAT MAKES A GAME WORK IS VERY SIMILAR TO HOW LIFE IS AND BASED ON THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE, THE TIMING, THE EXPERIENCE ALL OF IT CAN BE RELATED TO GAMING.” - HIPHOPGAMER

VALIDATED: BEING FROM BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP CULTURE?

HIPHOPGAMER: WOW, MY EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP CULTURE IS PROBABLY BIG DADDY KANE WHEN THEY DID THE WARM IT KANE DANCE AND JUMPED OVER THE LEG WITH SCOOP AND SCRAP LOVER. THAT MOMENT WAS EXTREMELY IMPACTFUL FOR ME. I REMEMBER IT SO WELL ‘CAUSE I TRIED TO DO THE DANCE BUT IT DIDN'T WORK OUT WELL FOR ME THOUGH. LOL

VALIDATED: YOUR GRANDMOTHER INTRODUCED YOU TO VIDEO GAMES AT AGE 4, DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST GAME YOU PLAYED? 

HIPHOPGAMER: PAC-MAN ON THE ATARI 2600 WITH ONE JOYSTICK AND ONE RED BUTTON. THAT WAS CLASSIC AND I PLAYED IT ALL DAY... I BECAME INSTANTLY HOOKED ON GAMES.

VALIDATED: HOW IMPORTANT WAS YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S INFLUENCE ON YOU NOT ONLY AS A CHILD BUT ALSO THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

HIPHOPGAMER: MY GRANDMOTHER WAS EVERYTHING TO ME LITERALLY. WHEN I LOOK BACK ON MY LIFE IN HINDSIGHT I SEE EXACTLY WHAT GOD DID FOR ME BY ALLOWING ME TO HAVE MY GRANDMOTHER IN MY LIFE. 

I NEVER MET MY MOTHER AND MY FATHER BACK WHEN I WAS YOUNGER WAS MORE ABOUT THAT GANGSTA LIFE. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN BY THAT OF COURSE, SO IF I DIDN'T HAVE MY GRANDMA TRUST ME YOU WOULDN'T KNOW ME TODAY.

MY GRANDMOTHER KEPT ME INVOLVED WITH GAMES AND CHURCH AND SHE ALWAYS SHOWED ME LOVE, SPOKE TO ME ABOUT THINGS AND WAS ALWAYS THERE TO HELP ME WITH EVERYTHING. SHE WAS A TRUE PARENT, FRIEND, GUARDIAN... EVERYTHING THAT GOD IS TO US THAT ALLOWS THAT LEVEL OF LOVE TO BE APART OF THEIR LIFE.

IN TERMS OF MY CAREER, THE FIRST TIME I FOUND OUT I WAS GOING TO E3 '08 (THE BIGGEST GAMING EVENT EXPO) I TOLD MY GRANDMA RIGHT AWAY AND SHE WAS SO HAPPY FOR ME. IT’S JUST THINGS LIKE THAT BECAUSE MOMENTS LIKE THAT MADE IT ALL WORTHWHILE TO SEE THAT WHAT I WAS DOING WAS POSITIVE AND POWERFUL ESPECIALLY IN THE EYES OF MY GRANDMA.

VALIDATED: HOW BIG OF A ROLE DID GAMING PLAY IN YOUR CHILDHOOD?

HIPHOPGAMER: GAMING SAVED MY LIFE PERIOD! I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT MY LEVEL OF FOCUS AND ENJOYMENT TOWARDS GAMES HELPED ME DO BETTER IN SCHOOL AND HELPED ME TO DEAL WITH BAD SITUATIONS BETTER. EMOTIONAL MATURITY KICKED IN AT AN EARLIER STAGE FOR ME. GAMING TRULY IMPACTED ME IN SO MANY WAYS BEYOND JUST PLAYING THE GAMES BUT THE CHARACTERS, THE MUSIC, ALL OF IT WAS TRULY INFLUENTIAL ON ME ‘CAUSE OF THE JOY OF JUST PLAYING. PLAYING WITH FRIENDS, THE FEEL OF WINNING, THE LEARNING OF HOW I LOST GAMES AT TIMES, THE ENTIRE ECO-SYSTEM ON WHAT MAKES A GAME WORK IS VERY SIMILAR TO HOW LIFE IS AND BASED ON THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE, THE TIMING, THE EXPERIENCE ALL OF IT CAN BE RELATED TO GAMING.


VALIDATED: WHAT’S YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE GAME SYSTEM AND GAME AND WHY?

HIPHOPGAMER: ALL TIME FAVORITE GAME SYSTEM (CONSOLE) NOW IS PS4 PRO BY FAR BUT MY ALL TIME CLASSIC RETRO SYSTEM IS PS2.

ALL TIME FAVORITE GAME IS “GOD OF WAR” BUT “MARIO” ON THE NES IS THE GAME THAT TRULY MADE ME A GAMER. WHY? PS2 LITERALLY HAD ALL THE GAMES, ALL OF THEM AND PS2 WAS MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO “GOD OF WAR”. YOU COULDN'T GO WRONG WITH THAT SYSTEM, AND THE REASON WHY “GOD OF WAR” IS MY FAVORITE GAME OF ALL TIME IS SIMPLY BECAUSE THE STORY HAS A MAJOR METAPHOR TO BLACK PEOPLE BEING CRUCIFIED SOLELY BASED ON SKIN COLOR.

THE STORY OF KRATOS TO SUM IT UP FAST IS THIS... KRATOS WAS IN AN ARMY AND WAS ABOUT TO DIE, HE GAVE HIS SOUL TO AERIS, THE GOD OF WAR, AND AERIS KILLED KRATOS ENEMIES FOR HIM BUT ALSO MADE KRATOS KILL HIS OWN FAMILY AND FOREVER WILL HAVE TO WEAR HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER ASHES AS HIS SKIN ON HIS BODY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. 

THAT IS THE MOST POWERFUL STORY IN THE HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES IN MY OPINION AND BEING A BLACK MAN OUR SKIN COLOR IN THE WORLD WE LIVE IN IS CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS. A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE BLACK SADLY LOOK AT THEMSELVES IN A NEGATIVE WAY THE SAME WAY THE WORLD TRIES TO PORTRAY IT.

LASTLY PS4 PRO IS THE BEST ‘CAUSE OF SO MANY GREAT EXCLUSIVES AS WELL SUCH AS “GOD OF WAR”, “UNCHARTED”, “LAST OF US”, ETC... SYSTEM FUNCTIONALITY, LITERALLY EVERYTHING JUST WORKS VERY PLUG N PLAY, INCREDIBLE FEATURES SUCH AS PLAYSTATION NOW, PLAYSTATION VUE, SHAREPLAY, ETC... AND THE CONTROLLER IS INCREDIBLE WITH THE TOUCHPAD, THE FEEL AND THE PLAYSTATION VR IS CRAZY, SO YEP PS4 PRO ALL DAY!

VALIDATED: YOU DEVELOPED A LOVE FOR RAP AS A TEENAGER AND DELVED MORE HEAVILY INTO MUSIC. THIS LED TO YOU RECEIVING AN OFFER FOR A MAJOR RECORDING DEAL WITH MC CHAN, HOWEVER, THAT OPPORTUNITY FELL APART. HOW DID THE OPPORTUNITY COME ABOUT? HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT FALLING APART?

HIPHOPGAMER: SHOUT OUT TO MY MAN MC SHAN, THE OPPORTUNITY CAME ABOUT FROM A TALENT SHOW THAT I DID AT MY JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL I.S. 292. ME, MY BROTHER AND MY COUSINS WAS IN A GROUP CALLED HLC (HARD LIVING CRIMINALS) AND CRAZY SAM WAS HOSTING. WE DID OUR THING BIG TIME, WE CAME IN SECOND PLACE BUT EVEN THE AUDIENCE FELT LIKE WE GOT ROBBED OF WINNING. MC SHAN WAS LIKE “YO, YOU GOTTA COME TO THE OFFICE.”

SO WE ALL COME TO THE OFFICE AND WE PLAYED THIS SONG FOR MC SHAN CALLED “WAX” AND HE LOVED IT. WE ALSO SPIT ACAPELLA AND HE LOVED IT TOO AND I WAS THE YOUNGEST IN THE CREW WITH THE MOST ENERGY SO IT JUST FIT PERFECTLY.

SO MC SHAN INVITED US TO COME TO HIS HOUSE IN CENTRAL ISLIP AND MY BROTHER AND MY COUSIN DECIDED TO GO TO JONES BEACH AND MESS WITH SOME GIRLS. ME AND OUR PRODUCER AT THE TIME RAKIM (NOT THEE RAKIM LOL) WENT OUT THERE TOGETHER AND MC SHAN WANTED TO SIGN THE GROUP BUT WHEN THE GROUP DIDN'T SHOW UP FOR THE REASON OF GOING TO JONES BEACH THE DEAL WAS OVER.  MC SHAN DIDN'T WANNA SIGN JUST ME ‘CAUSE I WAS A MINOR, I WAS ONLY 14 AT THE TIME, SO THAT DEAL FELL APART.

I HANDLED THE FALLING APART BY FOCUSING ON BECOMING JUST SOLO AND DOING MY OWN THING, AND DOING MY OWN THING WHICH LED TO ME GOING FROM THE RAP NAME JACKAL FLARES TO THE BRAND HIPHOPGAMER AND NOW I'M TRULY LIVING MY CALLING.

VALIDATED: MUSIC EVENTUALLY TOOK A BACK SEAT TO YOUR  GOAL OF MERGING YOUR LOVE FOR GAMING WITH DEVELOPING A CAREER THAT WOULD LEAD YOU TO START THE HIPHOPGAMER BRAND. HOW DID THE IDEA COME ABOUT? 

HIPHOPGAMER: THE IDEA OF HIPHOPGAMER CAME ABOUT IN 2007 WATCHING G4TV, I FELT LIKE THE INDUSTRY AND THE VOICES IN THEM WAS BECOMING TO CORPORATE AND NOT TRUE TO WHAT THE CULTURE OF GAMING IS ABOUT, SO I DECIDED THAT I WANTED TO BE THE VOICE FOR WHAT I LOVE AND LEAD IT THE RIGHT WAY WITHOUT ANY CORRUPTION.

SO I LOVE HIP-HOP AND I LOVE GAMES, THAT'S BEEN MY ENTIRE LIFE, SO MY BRAND SHOULD REPRESENT WHO I AM BECAUSE THAT'S THE MOST AUTHENTIC WAY TO BE. WHEN PEOPLE SAY MY NAME THEY ALREADY KNOW WHAT IT IS, SO YEP IT WAS PERFECT.

IN TERMS OF MUSIC TAKING A BACK SEAT, IT NEVER TOOK A BACK SEAT. I STILL ALWAYS MADE MUSIC, I JUST WANTED TO MAKE MUSIC MORE SO FOR GAMES NOW INSTEAD OF TALKING THAT GANGSTA TALK THAT I WAS NOT LIVING BUT I DID WITNESS.

VALIDATED: IN DECEMBER 2007, YOU DEBUTED YOUR FIRST HIPHOPGAMER VIDEO ON YOUTUBE WITH A REALISTIC AND AUTHENTIC VIEW ON GAMING. WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL REACTION TO THE SUCCESS OF THE VIDEO?

HIPHOPGAMER: MY PERSONAL REACTION WAS WOW I ACTUALLY DID IT, I WASN'T TOO FOCUSED ON HOW IT CAME OUT OR ANYTHING, I WAS JUST HAPPY THAT I SAID I WAS GONNA DO SOMETHING AND ACTUALLY TOOK THE ACTION OF DOING IT. 

WHEN I GOT COMMENTS AND VIEWERSHIP AND PEOPLE STARTED ROCKING WITH IT THAT'S WHEN I WAS LIKE WOW I SEE WHERE THIS COULD GO LET ME CONTINUE TO TAP INTO IT AND I NEVER LOOKED BACK SINCE THEN.

VALIDATED: HOW BIG OF A ROLE DID TORRENCE DAVIS PLAY EARLY ON IN GAINING THE HHG BRAND MORE EXPOSURE?

HIPHOPGAMER: TORRENCE DAVIS IS THE GOAT, HE LITERALLY TAUGHT ME THE GAME INDUSTRY AND GAVE ME A PLATFORM TO SHOWCASE MY SHOW ON THEBITBAG.COM DURING THAT TIME PERIOD. 

MY WORK AND CONSISTENCY IS WHAT LED ME TO E3 AND FROM THERE ON IT WAS OVER, I BECAME A BEAST IN THE INDUSTRY AND EVENTUALLY BECAME THE BEST ALL BECAUSE TORRENCE TAUGHT ME TITLE STRUCTURE, HOW TO BREAK STORIES, UNIQUE WAYS TO GET PEOPLE TO RESPOND, LIKE ALL OF IT AND HE'S THE REASON WHY I BECAME GREAT, IT'S ALL ‘CAUSE OF TORRENCE, I LOVE HIM FOR THAT FOREVER.

VALIDATED: WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOUR TAKE ON GAMING, MUSIC, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT THAT FANS FIND SO RELATABLE?

HIPHOPGAMER: A FEW THINGS, THE HONESTY, THE NEW PERSPECTIVES I PRESENT, THE PASSION AND ENERGY TOWARDS THE TOPICS, THE ANALOGIES I USE TO CREATE BETTER UNDERSTANDING AND CLARITY, THE NEVER BACK DOWN MENTALITY ON PROVING MY POINTS AND LOGIC ON SUBJECT MATTERS, THE POSITIVE SPIN I PUT ON THINGS WHEN NORMALLY PEOPLE THRIVE OFF NEGATIVITY AND GOSSIP, AND ALSO THE ABILITY TO CREATE A GREAT VIBE WITHOUT THE NEED OF PUTTING SOMEONE DOWN FOR ME TO BE UP.

VALIDATED: YOU’VE INTERVIEWED SUCH GREATS AS JERRY RICE, KEVIN HART, ANGELA BASSETT AND A HOST OF OTHER A-LIST ARTISTS, LEGENDS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTERVIEW BUT HAVEN’T YET AND WHY?

HIPHOPGAMER: 50 CENT, JAY-Z, TETSUYA NOMURA, MICHAEL JORDAN, OBAMA, SHUEHI YOSHIDA, VIOLA DAVIS TO NAME A FEW.

THE REASON WHY I WOULD LOVE TO INTERVIEW THESE PEOPLE AND MANY OTHERS NOT LISTED HERE IS BECAUSE I TRULY FEEL I CAN HAVE THEM REVEAL THINGS THEY NEVER REVEALED THAT WILL CREATE A NEW LEVEL OF POSITIVE INSPIRATION FOR THE PEOPLE THAT WILL WATCH THE ACTUAL INTERVIEW.

THE GOAL IN MY INTERVIEWS IS TO CREATE CHANGE AND MAKE AN IMPACT WITH WORDS FROM GREAT PEOPLE SUCH AS WHO I LISTED.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE IT WOULD BE AN HONOR TO JUST BUILD WITH MINDS LIKE THESE ‘CAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT WOULD BE INCREDIBLE BOTH WAYS AND I'LL PROVIDE VALUE TO THEM JUST AS WELL AS THEY’D PROVIDE VALUE TO ME.

VALIDATED: YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH CODER CAMP, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

HIPHOPGAMER: WELL THAT PARTNERSHIP FELL APART LONG AGO, IT WAS A GREAT GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR SCHOLARS TO BE AWARE OF HOW CODING CAN BENEFIT THEIR LIVES GOING FORWARD CONSIDERING THE WAY LIFE AND THE OVERALL INDUSTRY IS GOING IN TERMS OF TECHNOLOGY AND MORE.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN IS BECAUSE CERTAIN PEOPLE WITHIN THE CODER CAMPS ORGANIZATION FELT THREATENED BY ME AND WHAT I WAS BRINGING TO THE TABLE AND HOW EFFECTIVE IT WAS, WHERE AS THE OLD TRADITIONAL METHODS THEY WERE ALWAYS USE TO DOING JUST WASN'T WORKING ANY MORE AND REACHING PEOPLE. 

SO JEALOUSY IS WHAT ENDED THAT PARTNERSHIP BUT GOD BLESS THEM ANYWAY ‘CAUSE THEY HAVE A GREAT PROGRAM JUST NEED BETTER LEADERSHIP AND I WANT THEM TO SUCCEED.

VALIDATED: FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW, WHAT IS A “GAMING PERSONALITY”?

HIPHOPGAMER: A PERSON THAT KNOWS, AND STUDIES THE GAMING INDUSTRY INSIDE AND OUT TO PROVIDE AUTHENTIC INSIGHT AND COMMENTARY ON WHAT'S HAPPENING, WHAT'S COMING, AND DO IT IN A UNIQUE WAY BASED UPON YOUR DELIVERY AND HOW PEOPLE RECEIVE IT.

VALIDATED: WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE HIPHOPGAMER?

HIPHOPGAMER: SO MUCH, NEW SONGS IN VIDEO GAMES, NEW TALK SHOW LATE NIGHT OR DAY TIME, MY GAMING AND GUIDANCE PROGRAM WITH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IS INCREDIBLE, NEW PARTNERSHIPS FOR BIGGER BRAND BUILDING, A DOCUMENTARY ON ME AND ROAD TO GAMING, ACTING IS SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN ON MY RADAR AS WELL AND FITNESS.

VALIDATED: WHAT ARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTACTS?

HIPHOPGAMER: EVERYTHING IS “HIPHOPGAMER” ACROSS THE BOARD.

Troy HendricksonComment