The New Mainstream: How Hip Hop and Geek Culture Are Revolutionizing America’s Pop Culture is one of the latest articles in the Escapist. This week’s issue focused on hip hop and its relationship with video games. According to this specific article, the middle class used to aspire to be rich by becoming doctors or lawyers, but these days the rich are made up of geeks. Geeks generally like to play video games. Hence, if you want to aspire to be rich, you’ll likely want a big entertainment center with a few game consoles.
So what that means is that some of the wealthiest people in our society like to spend lavishly on games and tech. And that, in turn, means that games and tech have become aspirational goods on the Street.
Which leads to the current bizarre case: Games are now cool because middle class teenagers are emulating hip hop moguls who are adopting the trappings of wealth which are defined by Silicon Valley millionaires who like games and tech.
The New Mainstream is why technology is now a luxury good and style suddenly matters. It’s why Microsoft’s Xbox 360 looks like it was designed by Apple, and Nintendo’s Gameboy Micro looks like it was designed by Nokia. It’s why, today, it’s cool to own an Alienware computer with a stylized case and building your own PC from parts just means you’re broke. It’s why the Motorola Razr was such a huge success. It’s why you can expect Rockstar to release its own line of hip hop lifestyle clothing one of these days.
It’s all very interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever been concerned with style when it comes to my geekery. Heck, I don’t even own a Mac. On the other hand, I have to admit being impressed by a modded computer case or two. So maybe it just makes sense that as technology has evolved it has to become stylized. BMW and Jaguar have come a long way from Ford’s Model T. Perhaps it won’t be so easy to impress people with the technology. People might think that something that doesn’t look as amazing as its internal workings must be shoddy.
But in my defense, I build my own computer partly because I can, partly because I like customizing my machine, and partly because I am broke. You get a lot more bang for buck building it yourself. Also, I’m, uh, keeping it real. Yeah, that’s right. So you can go take your super-stylized, factory-built, expensive paper weight excuse for a computer and go home because you won’t be able to hold a candle to me when we play Pong. Fool.