“A video game lifestyle brand rooted in hip-hop culture” is how Konsole Kingz co-CEO CJ Peters explains his company. Along with partner Marcus Matthews, Peters has created a very profitable lane at the intersection of hip-hop and gaming culture.
“We take advantage of all vehicles that we can put the brand in, and the two that have risen to the top are our virtual goods and our events,” explains Peters. By producing engaging events and content for the hip-hop space on behalf of video companies like Microsoft, the two have built a media empire around an often-ignored clientele. Their services range from customized gamer pics and themes on Xbox Live to digital to partnerships that unite the biggest names in gaming and hip-hop.
Mechanical Dummy had an exclusive chat with CJ Peters to find out how he went from that first Magnavox Odyssey 2 his mom bought him to being one of the most influential men in the world’s fastest-growing entertainment industry.
Mechanical Dummy: Who is the “urban gamer?”
CJ Peters: Anybody that likes hip-hop and plays video games would fall in line with us. That’s who I’m going after. If you really like hip-hop, and you really like playing games, that’s my intersection. So if that target falls on you, you’re in our demographic. And truthfully, we don’t like to say the word urban because sometimes people define urban in different ways. That’s why I like to say hip-hop.
MD: What games fit into that lane?
CJP: The games that we focus on from what we’ve figured out are sports games of course, fighting games, and shooting games. Those are like the top three and everything else kind of secondary. Like adventure games and things like that.
MD: Who are the best gamers in hip-hop?
CJP: If you’re talking Madden, it’s The Game, David Banner, Baby from Cash Money, he’s really good in Madden. A lot of people don’t know that, but he will bust your ass. And take all your money. Wale’s pretty good at 2k. If you’re talking like Call of Duty, shooters, believe it or not, Ice-T and his crew, they do play a lot. They game hard. And both of his sons. They really in it. SMG is Ice-T, Warren G, Xzibit and Ice-T’s son, they got a crew called SMG. Sex, Money and Guns, I think that’s what it stands for. They play against guys online all the time. Soulja Boy, if you’re playing Gears of War or any third-person shooter games like that, he can actually play. There’s different games for different rappers. How can I not mention Snoop? Snoop Lion, Madden and 2K, he does play.
MD: Besides rappers, what’s typical lifestyle of gamers in your demographic?
CJP: We kind of represent the cool gamers. The guy that still goes to the movies, still goes out to the parties and have fun, still like to have sex. You know, shit like that. That’s what we represent.
MD: How did the Bow Wow vs. Game Madden challenge come together?
CJP: That was like the biggest hip-hop gaming event ever, when Bow Wow played Game for $100,000… It started off as real organic, and then we kind of molded it to become really big. Game was on promo tour in Atlanta… I had my camera. And when the camera came on, you know Game, he kinda comes alive whenever there’s a camera. So I was just shooting what was going on… And I put that on YouTube and then Worldstar patched it off YouTube and put it on Worldstar. Then Bow Wow replied, Game replied, everyone replied.
Click here to relive the timeline of this classic Madden duel between Game and Bow Wow.
MD: Hip-hop and gaming are roughly the same age and have grown simulateously. How have the two cultures influenced each other?
CJP: Hip-hop is the bastard child of video games (laughs). And that kind of means like the gaming industry is one of the biggest entertainment mediums out right now. It’s a lot of tech nerd cats that kind of run stuff (in the gaming industry). And there’s nothing wrong with that, but at the same time, hip-hop is not what they grew up in, so some things they don’t get that they probably should be embracing. So I think that has to get better, and that’s kind of one of our missions. To make sure, to keep it on their mind that this one small segment that you may not be spending marketing dollars with, they actually over-index in buying games. So we trying to fight that fight and right that wrong. But for the guys that actually get it at those companies, which is like the people that work with us, (both cultures) influence each other.