Straight Outta Gotham: Geek Culture + Hip Hop Culture

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There’s a unique bond that hip hop culture and geek culture share. If you’re a fan of both, you may have noticed their similar themes like alter egos, counter-culture and escapism. I’m one of the many that exist in that Venn diagram overlap where geek meets rap. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to mashup my love for these two sub-cultures with the tumblr, Straight Outta Gotham, where I feature rap lyrics that make geek references. The title of my blog came from N.W.A’s infamous Straight Outta Compton album. The G’ed up Batman mascot is made by the talented Steve Seeley.

SoG‘s origin story began when I had one of those Oprah “ah ha” moments while listening to “Knuck if you Buck” by Crime Mob. “Knuck if you Buck” is one of my favorite southern rap songs. There’s just something about it that always gives me life. So one day, I was cleaning my room, rappin’ and dancin’ along to the song and then M.I.G.’s verse came on, “Jumpin’ off from on the stage/ throwin’ bows like Johnny Cage”. In that moment, Straight Outta Gotham was born. Now, I’ve heard this song countless times and that Mortal Kombat line always made the gamer in me smile. I knew I wasn’t the only one who loved hearing geeky references in rap songs so I stopped cleaning up (because I didn’t feel like it anyway) and started brainstorming how I could make it a thing. A few hours later, it was an official thing with “Knuck if you Buck” being my first post.

SoG includes everything and anything that falls within the geek realm. I knew rap had geek references, but I didn’t realize just how much. There are a few rappers that I can always count on to show their fanboyness in a song. Pretty much all of Odd Future are geeks, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Lupe Fiasco is practically an otaku if his newest project “Testuo & Youth” wasn’t a big enough clue. Eminem used to collect comics when he was younger and Childish Gambino is the epitome of a blerd. Wu-Tang Clan is practically a given and the rapper Danny Brown seems to like a little bit of everything. Then of course there are random rappers here and there that have a little geek in them… But let’s be honest, don’t we all?

It’s so much fun finding geeky references for Straight Outta Gotham. I also take submissions, so if you heard something nerdy, send it my way!

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How Games Saved My Life

Well not mine in particular, but there are many people out there where video games did in fact save their life in ways that will probably make you want to cry. Ashly Burch from Hey Ash Whatcha Playin (HAWP) recently started a blog ‘How Games Saved My Life‘ (HGSML), “to catalog all the awesome testimonials of life-changing experiences that games have afforded people.” My brother showed this to me (he shows me all things awesome) and said something like “this is great” and “these make me want to cry” so I checked it out, being a fan of great things that make you want to cry (which is probably why I really liked season 4 of Doctor Who… oh Donna). 

You don’t need to be a gamer to know that video games get a bad rap. Stuffy people are constantly trying to blame problems on video games, despite the massive amount of positive experiences they are responsible for. Which is why I think this blog is wonderful, despite the obvious heightened problem solving skills that researchers credit to games, How Games Ssaved My Life shows the beneficial psychological and emotional effects games have had on many people. 

Some of the testemonials range from how video games helped people cope with depression, their sexuality, divorce, death, illness, anxiety, anger issues and so much more. There’s Jason who traded heavy drug addiction for a Xbox 360 and cleaned up his life. Or Morgan McMorick a transgendered gamer, where video games assisted in helping her identity as a woman. Morgan says, “…I still wanted to be dead, I still felt like a freak. But now I had places I could be a girl in, now I had games to look forward to. Even when I couldn’t play the girl, video games were beginning to tell stories about three-dimensional women I could appreciate or look up to.” I’m happy Ash thought of this idea and people are able to showcase and submit their life-changing stories which hopefully is a small step in changing people’s negative opinion on video games. 

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