For rapper, CEO, clothing designer and Brooklyn Nets minority owner Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, “On to the Next One” isn’t just a song, but a way of life.
He’s moving on to a new industry to conquer, as 2K Sports has just named the 42-year-old entertainment mogul the executive producer of “NBA 2K13.” Carter has not only personally selected the game’s 24-song soundtrack, but he’s also been working with 2K designers on the overall look and feel of the game’s presentation.
“At 2K Sports, we want to transcend just being a video game and be a solid entertainment product with basketball at its core,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports, when I asked him about Jay-Z’s involvement in the game. “This game has gotten so amazingly good from a gameplay standpoint, that we got together and asked what we could do to add to that, to support, and package around an already amazing game. We wanted to talk to people who were authentic to the sport of basketball, but also authentic to the world of entertainment and music and culture. Every time we sat down to make our lists, one guy kept rising to the top, and that’s Jay-Z.”
When the development team behind “NBA 2K13” approached Carter about possibly working on the game, he told them that he wanted the collaboration to be more than simply slapping his name on the front of the box.
“We actually got more collaborative involvement than I ever could’ve imagined,” said Argent as he broke down hour-long sessions with the development team sitting down with Jay-Z inside his New York office. “Jay has called at eight o’clock at night asking questions and telling us about some of his ideas that he wanted to put in the game. He’s very engaged with this, from the look to the feel to the flow to the creative presentation of the game. Jay wanted the experience from as soon as you load the game to feel like something he did and was something he was involved with. He was focused with everything off the court.”
One of the reasons for the enthusiastic response is the fact Jay-Z has been a big fan of the “NBA 2K” series for years.
Said Argent: “He’s a huge gamer and a huge fan of the series. He knew so much about it that he was even weighing in on certain aspects of gameplay, which was a huge surprise to us. He loves this franchise and you can tell just talking to him that he knows it very well and plays it very well. And that was a big deal to us. We wanted someone who was as engaged with the franchise as they were with the sport.
“This is obviously a big, big announcement for 2K Sports, but this is just the first announcement for ‘NBA 2K13.’ Everything from the feature set to the gameplay has taken another giant, incredible leap forward.”
And Carter seems to agree, adding via statement: “This has been a unique opportunity to collaborate with 2K Sports and be a part of one of the best sports video games in history. ‘NBA 2K13’ will be the next evolution in sports and basketball culture, and I’m ready to usher in the new era of the franchise.”
As for the soundtrack hand-picked by Jay-Z, here are the tracks you can expect to hear once the game drops on Oct. 2:
'NBA 2K13' soundtrack
• The Hours: “All in the Jungle”
• Too Short: "Blow the Whistle" (Main)
• Eric B. and Rakim: “I Ain’t No Joke”
• Phoenix: “1901”
• Jay-Z: “Pump it Up” (Freestyle)
• Puff Daddy and the Family: “Victory” (feat. Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes)
• Daft Punk: “Around the World" (Radio Edit)
• Santigold: “Shove It” (feat. Spank Rock)
• Kanye West: “Amazing”
• Jay-Z: “Run This Town”
• The Dirty Projectors: “Stillness in the Move”
• Nas: “The World is Yours”
• Coldplay: “Viva La Vida”
• Roy Ayers: “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby”
• Justice: “Stress”
• Jay-Z: “The Bounce”
• Kanye West: “We Major” (feat. Nas & Really Doe)
• Mobb Deep: “Shook Ones, Pt. II”
• Meek Mill: “Ima Boss” (Instrumental)
• Kanye West: “Mercy” (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz)
• U2: “Elevation”
• Jay-Z: “On to the Next One”
• Jay-Z: “Public Service Announcement”
• Jay-Z: “H.A.M.” (Instrumental)