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Rappers Wrestling

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Wouldn’t it be more realistic if they just shot each other? Hardcore brawling with the Def Jam peeps:

    What happens when you bring together the world’s hottest music label and the world’s biggest videogame publisher? “Culture clash” doesn’t begin to describe it. In November, Def Jam Records and Electronic Arts hosted a party at Sony’s Manhattan studios to preview the hip-hop-infused Def Jam Vendetta – the first collaboration between the two industry leaders. While EA’s staid reps demonstrated the game at the numerous PlayStation 2 kiosks, rapper Method Man was holding court, a scepter-thick joint in one hand and a PS2 controller in the other. For a company like EA, which is known for all-ages franchises like The Sims or Madden Football and for steering clear of mature-rated content, a party like this might make its board of directors break out in a rash. But for Steve Schnur, a music-industry veteran whom EA hired to revamp its music efforts, rappers are the new rock stars – and the future of gaming. “The game industry was scared of hip-hop,” says the 42-year-old Schnur. “They didn’t realize it was mainstream. And since gaming is a medium that speaks directly to youth culture, it makes sense for us to work together.”

    ….Trends come and go, and EA is smart enough not to place all its eggs in the rap basket. Non-hip-hop artists featured in recent and upcoming EA games range from party rocker Andrew W.K. to punk rockers the Donnas. But Schnur is convinced hip-hop is here to stay. “We’ll take hip-hop deeper into our games, into places where we may have just used rock in the past.” The future of games – and hip-hop – never sounded quite so bright.

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