Valorant and Beats: Where eSports and Hip Hop Meet

April 4, 2024 0

pexels-photo-1238980-500x331 Valorant and Beats: Where eSports and Hip Hop Meet

Music in video games is as important as it is in films and television. One of the most common music genres found in various gaming titles is hip hop. According to this Billboard piece on hip hop and gaming, this collaboration dates back to the earliest NBA games, known for having mostly hip hop-dominated soundtracks. Ronnie 2K, Digital Marketing Director for 2K games, calls it a “symbiotic relationship” when describing rappers’ affinity for the NBA games franchise. Historically, the 2K franchise has enlisted heavyweight rappers like Jay-Z, Pharrell, and Travis Scott to executive produce their games’ playlists.

The relationship also goes both ways. Later on, 2K featured artists like Lil Durk, Lil Wayne, Jack Harlow, and Quavo as playable characters in the game. In 2022, rapper J. Cole became the first artist to land on the series’ cover, cementing the NBA 2K franchise as a cultural intersection between digital basketball and hip hop that fans have grown to love.

In a previous post, we also highlighted an upcoming game from the World Street Ball Association. The game is currently in development and aims to be the first of its kind — an open-world street basketball game. While we’re yet to find the game’s official title, the concept is intriguing, promising dynamic gameplay, open-world exploration, and authentic streetball action for gamers and basketball enthusiasts. Streetball lovers will also enjoy the detailed urban landscapes, from neighborhood parks to bustling street basketball courts — each one a promising setting for blaring hip hop music.

However, basketball isn’t the only avenue for hip hop in video games. Nowadays, many titles across various genres include hip hop music as part of their soundtrack or in-game music to help appeal to wider audiences. One of these games is first-person shooter Valorant,whose in-game roster of characters features “Agents” from around the world, each introduced with their own diverse “character music”. In this post, we’ll look at how eSports and hip hop combine in Valorant:


As mentioned above, Valorant’s diverse lineup of characters — also called “Agents” — allows for a diverse library of music and soundtrack that correspond with their culture, abilities, and background. In 2023, Valorant released its first LA-based character, Gekko, whose abilities introduce a chaotic element of Pokemon-like creatures that can blind, stun, and trap opponent Agents. Along with his playful arsenal of creature pals, Gekko’s combo of green hair and fun voice lines is accompanied by a hyperpop slash emo-rap single from hip hop artist ericdoa titled “>one.”

Gekko isn’t the only hip hop-fueled Valorant character. One of the game’s original roster of characters, Jett, had a Korean hip hop track and video released in 2022. The track, titled “Can’t Slow Me Down,” was produced by prominent Korean hip hop duo GroovyRoom.

eSports events

Aside from in-game and game-related content, hip hop is also heavily present in Valorant’s eSports scene. Today, the viewership for Valorant’s official tournaments and regional leagues is in the high hundreds of thousands, and the numbers continue to climb annually. A Valorant betting guide explains that the official eSports ecosystem organized by developer Riot Games involves various live events throughout the year, building up to the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Champions stage — comparable to Dota 2’s The International. These events are where artists often perform their game-related music live.

The high viewership numbers are due to Valorant’s high-octane gameplay and its rapid popularity after its release in 2020. Many bettors are also active in Valorant’s eSports scene due to the many official events organized yearly. To elevate their eSports viewing experience, bettors place bets on teams they think will win a series, as well as other aspects of Valorant, such as which team would get First Kill, how many total kills they can rack up, and live predictions of the outcome of a match.

Hip hop fans

Finally, Valorant and hip hop are combined thanks to the game’s passionate fans, some of whom are rappers and artists in the hip hop scene. Korean hip hop artist eaJ is a big fan of the game and often streams his Valorant gameplay on Twitch, often with prominent content creators and pros in the Valorant community. Rapper Drake also made headlines in 2018 after being announced as co-owner of North American eSports organization 100 Thieves, which has a popular Valorant division.

Most recently, rapper ScHoolboy Q responded to various questions posed by fans on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). During the Q&A session, the discussion shifted towards gaming, in which Q revealed he preferred PC gaming over console gaming and, controversially, Valorant over its tactical shooter competitor, Counter-Strike. When asked by curious fans, Q named NRG Esports as his favorite Valorant eSports team. While we do not yet have any official Valorant-sponsored tracks from ScHoolboy Q, seeing if the rapper will accompany any new Agent releases or make an anthem for NRG shortly will be interesting.

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