As pre-season rolls around this fall, NBA ballers won’t be the only ones sharpening their skills on the court. Video gamers have anxiously awaited the unveiling of 2K Sports’ NBA 2K7 and their hunger will be satisfied this September. Hip-hop’s favorite video game is back with a vengeance and laced with the hottest new features and graphics, so crisp that they blur the line that separates virtual from reality.
During a preview of the game at 2K Sports’ conference in New York, it was obvious that visual enhancements in the game are everywhere. Features include dynamic motion-captured shooting, dribbling and even a new story-driven street mode. This new addition to the game provides a plot to fuel the player even before the game starts, which makes it all the more authentic—and saves money on a movie rental. Player details are also immaculate in this iced out update of NBA 2K6, from crystal beads of forehead sweat to the squeak of fresh kicks on hardwood floors.
Though basketball players trying to rap often turns into a hip-hop tragedy, 2K7 flips it and reverses it with playable characters such as Slim Thug, Flavor Flav, Common, and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest, who take it to the streets—or rather the park—for some friendly competition.These artists, along with other heavy hitters such as Fabolous, Ghostface Killah, and Mos Def are featured on the album’s diverse original soundtrack. This adrenaline-infused compilation is produced by acclaimed DJ, Dan the Automator, who melds together the perfect blend of distinct hip-hop flavors. With backboard breaking beats accompanied by taunting lyrics to amp up the gamer, this album is more than just background music. What’s the recipe? “Hip-hop originally has a very eclectic formula,”Â Dan explains, “The early records really shaped a lot, but it’s whatever you want it to be.”Â As a subtle alternative to trash talking, tracks like E-40 and San Quinn’s “Baller Blockin”Â’ and Hieroglyphics’ “Don’t Hate The Player”Â add even more edge to the players’ graphically induced swagger.
This year, 2K Sports makes big moves on and off the court. The album features Dan the Automator’s freshly revamped version of “Lyrics To Go,”Â a classic from A Tribe Called Quest—who are ending their 6-year hiatus to reunite and headline the second annual 2K Sports Bounce Tour, with opener Rhymefest. Undeterred by others’ futile attempts to reunite the group, ATCQ comes together for their love of the 2K series, proving that game really does recognize game.
The tour kicks off on September 1st in Detroit, and will coalesce video game, hip-hop, and sports culture by featuring renowned musicians, sports gaming kiosks, and appearances by celebrities and professional athletes. The game doesn’t stop there—logging on to 2K Beats, 2K Sports’ online radio station and artist information source, is the hook up for loyal gamers, with music from past soundtracks, as well as access to artist bios, photos and more. 2K will also be hosting events in New York featuring the stars from the game in a series of community-oriented challenges like “Battle of the Boroughs”Â. 2K Sports continues the gaming legacy without even dropping the ball, effortlessly streaming this year’s update into mainstream hip-hop culture.
Reported by Rajul Punjabi in New York