grind

My Year in Grind: HipHopGamer

HipHopGamer is the witness to gaming's evolution

Hip hop gamer mobile
Photo courtesy of Hip Hop Gamer

Omari White 185343
December 22, 2018

You may see him walking around conventions and showcases sporting a personalized belt. You may see him on Twitch talking about all of the hottest video games. But one thing you can say about HipHopGamer is his love and passion for video games is like a classic Eric B. & Rakim song—it ain't no joke!

 

Born Gerard Williams, HipHopGamer has been in the loop on all of the latest video games for many years now. His infectious energy and impressive knowledge about the gaming world has caused him to rack up to 500,000 viewers on his Twitch streaming platform. This led to creating content and interviewing some of pop culture's most idolized figures such as Kevin Hart, Jerry Rice and Angela Bassett. When he's not in front of the camera playing games, he's writing about it. Williams contributes to the highly popular NYC-based hip-hop station, Hot 97.1.

 

Continuing to carry on the legacy of his deceased grandmother—Hip Hop Granny—while building his own, HipHopGamer continues to stay on the scene and on the grind as he delivers the 411 on this year's hottest video game releases. Associate editor Omari White was able to catch up with him as they recap his 2018 year in grind.

Omari White Hip Hop Gamer 1 2
Omari White and Hip Hop Gamer at the ONE37pm offices, 2018 / ONE37pm

This year has been a huge for video games. What is your take on the future of these new video game outlets such a eSports developing into a multi-million dollar business?

 

Branding. More branding and more companies being brought out and things like that to provide content for the fans out there that are looking for more content. So I'll give you an example of what I mean. Companies like ESPN, they tested the waters, having like Street Fighter on at times and Starcraft on their network. I think going into the new year you're going to see a deal happen where stuff like that is permanent. We're like, ESPN will actually have hired talent to provide content for the gaming world in the form of eSports as a normal permanent channel for ESPN with anchors, journalists and all. I could see that being one thing.

 

I see a lot more companies like the non-endemic companies such as Puma, Adidas, Nike, getting more involved apparel-wise. You may see a whole entire apparel line, so instead of limited edition, you'll see a full normal line where you could just walk into the store and get gaming material. I see a lot of these companies and teams embracing the industry like that, which means a lot more investments. I think the best thing about all of this is that gaming as a culture won't seem as foreign in terms of what's taking place and what's happening. I think it'd be more accepted and more normalized like how you see television, music and everything like that. The more people get into gaming and they will understand it more so you can see it grow that much better.

 

Your grind has been an interesting one in which you get to travel internationally to play some of the most talked-about video games before they get released to the public. What trip did you enjoy the most when it comes to learning about new innovative advancements in the forever-evolving virtual gaming world? Why?

 

It's always going to LA to E3. Now don't get me wrong. I would love to go to Germany to Gamescom because Gamescom is a bigger than E3 in terms of attendance. It's like the international version of E3 and I never been there yet, but going to E3, that's always considered to be the Super Bowl of the gaming industry. So that's always my favorite. But I will say this, in this year's E3, the Microsoft Xbox surprised me. They surprised me that the only reason why I say that is because I've never seen like a company that's leading a console that changed their entire business model or the process of changing their entire business model to the point where you may see an Xbox game pass on PlayStation. Bill Spencer is so interested in bringing Xbox games to every device that even if they come to the PlayStation, he's happy because he just wants people to play their games. So I'd never seen that happen in a console war before. So I don't even think Microsoft cares about the console war anymore. I'd bet, they just want people to play games and I think that's the best way for them to actually win, and dominate the market.

 

Can you give me your breakdown of how many streaming apps such as Twitch, Instagram live and Periscope play such a huge role in video gaming?

 

So with Instagram, remember Instagram was just pictures. When it comes to gaming, a picture is not worth a thousand words in my opinion when it comes to the gaming element. So that interactivity, the energy and the action need to be watched, not just seeing a static standpoint. So when Instagram brought video to their platform, the gaming content just went to a whole another level. For example, as big as Ninja is, as big as the fighting game community with competition, and just eSports, and getting those highlights and those final kills that you see people get when they win a million dollars at an event, now you go live that highlight on Instagram, which is more valuable to the world of gaming.

 

What is your takeaway in video games slowly becoming a popular trend in the hip-hop community?

 

Well, video games have always been popular in the hip-hop community it's just that they were only popular in one genre which is mainly sports and in Grand Theft Auto in terms of a brand. So now you're, now you're starting to see gaming as a whole being talked about in the world of hip-hop. But there's a difference between being popular and Trendy and being actually authentic. So this is what I want to see in 2019. I would love to see more companies embrace gaming culture from an authentic standpoint. So for example, instead of record companies hiring a whole bunch of A and Rs, I would love to see record companies hire streamers to push their music and to push their artists. Tie Streamers know what I'm saying.

 

What was your favorite release of 2018?

 

Oh God Of War! C'mon B! God Of War. Game of the year! Shoutouts to Christopher Judge playing Kratos. Shoutout to Corey Barlog for recreating a great franchise that David Jaffe started. I want to say this, David Jaffe deserves so much credit because he is the one that created God Of War. He created Kratos. He created the story. David Jaffe created everything in that world and somewhat like Corey Barlog who's amazing, who also shows respect to David Jaffe was the person that recreated it in such a way where we can love it that much more going forward. And all I gotta say is if you love Marvel, when you love Thor, just know Kratos is the future. I'm telling you, man, God Of War, the game of the year.

 

Name a rap song that best describes your grind and success in 2018. Why did you choose that song?

 

So the song that I would choose is a song that I actually designed around ONE37PM and VaynerMedia, and that's a song called "Champion" because the song is pretty much designed around hustle and happiness. It's also designed about having self-love and self-encouragement so it can be able to get that energy back off and back out into the world. And I think ideally I think I did a hell of a job with the song because one of the lines in the song I spoke about not living on your knees so you have to kiss nobody ass to achieve the things you want to achieve in life. You can actually sacrifice, work hard and do things the right way in order to be empowering and influential in a positive light for everyone that witnessed it and embrace the song, the content and everything that you do. So I want to give a big shout out to Gary Vee on that because he was an inspiration for that song title as well as, you know, other people. But Gary was a huge inspiration to me writing that song.

 

Omari White Hip Hop Gamer 1
Photo courtesy of Hip Hop Gamer

 

Check out his latest song that helped him win in 2018 titled, "Champion". 

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