Australian Hip Hop Artists to Collaborate with NBA 2K23

Both NBA 2K23 and Universal Music Australia have recently announced a special partnership with various Australian Hip Hop artists, Chillinit, Sahxl and Barkaa. The collaboration titled Court in Session, will feature a selection of musical performances inspired by and set to many of the beats and sounds featured within NBA 2K23. This collaboration will form part of the long running basketball series’ attempt to branch out with the release of its new culturally diverse platform.

With a basketball court as their stage, each artist will be performing a new track, made exclusively with sounds and effects featured in the game, including bouncing basketball, swooshing nets and the skidding of basketball shoes. Each of the music videos have been crafted by two-time ARIA nominated music video director, Gabriel Gasparinatos. who has recently directed both films and commercials for brands such as Adidas, Beats by Dre, Spotify, Google and the A-Leagues.

Gabriel commented on the the announcement, stating “It’s been so fun getting back to my rap video roots on this project, it’s highly technical with massive LED screens, an enormous lighting set and motion control rigs but working with DOP Tyson Perkins and bolt operator Max Pepper from Cinoptix on it has been super rewarding. Pulling inspiration from 2K gameplay highlight reels and modern rap clip sensibilities we had a blast pulling these individual videos together. It’s so cool to see such exciting, global brands willing to invest in & give a platform to Australian hip hop artists.”

The Court in Session campaign was extremely attractive to the young rapper like Chillinit who has always aimed to promoted his new and existing music in new and exciting ways.

He commented on his newest track, stating, “I have always been a huge fan of the NBA and the video game, as a kid I would play for hours, then fast forward years later to see my own billboard within the game while I play with my own little brothers is surreal.

“It’s been such an honour to work with the team at 2K and to be a part of a game that I genuinely love and grew up playing. I can’t thank the team enough and can’t wait to welcome you all to the 2K with. Big Swish.”.

You can check out his new music video below:

 19-year-old artist Sahxl is also along for the ride, having been touted as one of Australia’s next best upcoming stars. With a unique fusion of both Hip Hop and R&B genres, he’s been in the game since the age of 13 and has been ascending ever since.

On the collaboration, Sahxl commented, “When I collab with brands, it has to be authentic. I play NBA 2K all the time in the studio, so for me this project just made sense. It was a bit of a challenge producing the beat with my producer Sid Mallick, as it was our first-time using basketball sound effects to put together a song, so it was a really different process. The final track sounded dope though, and it was fun experimenting with new experiences and themes to help this song come together. It was a pleasure being invited!”

Check out his track below:

Last but not least, we have Barkaa. Hailed as the the new matriarch of Australian rap” by GQ Magazine this Malyangapa, Barkindji woman from Western New South Wales, now living in South West Sydney on Gandangara land, uses music to express not only herself, but the truth and issues impacting First Nations people. Her 2020 debut single For My Tittas, has initiated a steady climb to becoming one of Australia’s most respected voices, backed up by triple j and Red Bull respectively. She has also recently been announced as part of The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2022, even featuring across various billboards in New York’s Times Square.

She commented on the news, stating, “The song “Ball On ‘Em” is a track that I wrote that was intended on amping people up and a shout out to haters that they couldn’t stop nothing. Referencing brother Patty Mills this is dedicated to him for defying all odds, somebody we as a First Nations community are constantly inspired by and in awe of. The lyric “pass it to them young ones, they gon’ run the game strong” is saying that this is and has always been bigger than us… We got to pass that torch over to our youth when our time is up and know that our future is in good hands, I’ve got to give a massive shout out to Rhyan Clapham (DOBBY) for going ham on the beat, we had so much fun in the studio working on this track,”.

You can check out her new track below:

It’s great to Australian artists shining on a global stage, alongside NBA 2K23’s expanding reach, thanks to their Court in Session platform.

Matthew Arcari

Matthew Arcari is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. You can find him on Twitter at @sirchunkee, or at the Dagobah System, chilling with Luke and Yoda.