Los Angeles, CA – Kicking off the 2018 BET Awards weekend festivities last Thursday (June 21), HipHopDX hosted its annual gaming tournament between rappers and professional gamers for the third year in a row. 

“DXTurbo III was where Hip Hop and the ‘fighting game community’ throwdown,” said fighting game legend and DXTurbo production manager Alex Valle.

All the gameplay took place in Tekken 7, one of the most critically acclaimed fighting games, which was developed by Bandai Namco Ent. It had a limited arcade release in Japan in 2015, and in 2017, an updated version was released for console and PC worldwide, selling over 3 million copies by the end of the year.

The Tekken 7 Tournament Style at DXTurbo

The double-elimination tournament consisted of eight teams of two players — one Hip Hop artist and one professional gamer. The Hip Hop contingent included AD, Derek Minor, Domani Harris, Drumma Boy, Stro, M A E S T R O, IDK, Skrizzy and Page Kennedy. Meanwhile, Top 10 Tekken pro gamers in attendance included Jackie Tran, Jeannail “Cuddle_Core” Carter, Vanessa “Swag Master” Tan, Joseph “Joey Fury” Bennett and Mike “Suiken” Khieu.

Commentary for the livestream was handled by The Breakdown’s Murs and ELEAGUE’s Steve “Tasty Steve” Scott, and reached over 30,000 people via broadcasts on Twitch and BET’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Other attendees included Kooley High, MyGuyMars, Trap Beckham, Earl Swavey, Airplane James and former NFL star Tamba Hali.

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This year, the event moved from Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles. The venue, The Great Company, was split into two, with a casual gaming area on one side, for those interested in getting a feel for what the pros were doing, and the more intense tournament on the other.

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“We had to move it, the event was getting bigger and bigger,” said HipHopDX founder Sharath “Tommy” Cherian.

Attendees could watch and be part of the action on the tournament side, as the passion and fierce competition between rappers and gamers would erupt in cheers, rapper bravado and player-elimination disappointment.

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Adding to the ambiance, King Ice brought out the jewelry, Victrix the headphones, Hori the fighting sticks, and Will.i.am the AR+VR experience of Black Eyed Peas’ and Marvel’s Masters Of The Sun graphic novel.

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As one of DXTurbo’s sponsors, Wingstop provided an endless supply of delicious wings, while Avion Tequila kept the taps flowing with the drinks.

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If that wasn’t enough, DXTurbo also brought out some incredible cosplayers representing Tekken 7’s colorful characters. Linda Phan (@LINZORZ) portrayed Lucky Chloe. Dominic Zamora (@CINECOSU) showed out as Asuka. Annjela Saet (@annjelife) & Kitty Kabbom (@kittykaboom) dazzled as Eliza, and Aly Brazil (@tenderbroembrace) impressed with her portrayal of LiLi.

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Who Won DXTurbo III?

But it wasn’t about the party. It was about the tournament. And with eight teams entering, only one would survive. If the losers bracket wanted to win it all, they would have to beat the champs of the winning bracket not once but twice. The battle lines were drawn.

The Tournament kicked off with rapper Stro The MC shouting, “I’m whooping that ass,” in good fun to Strange Music’s Derek Minor. And as the tournament progressed, Stro (a mid-tournament replacement for IDK) and Tekken #1 ranked Joey Fury did do some ass whooping. It wasn’t until the 4th round that rapper AD and partner ‘Its JackieTran’ were able to knock the pair (Stro & Joey) out of the competition cementing them in 3rd place.

In probably one of the closest matches in the entire tournament, team Joey Fury/IDK went head to head with Runitblack/M A E S T R O, with IDK choosing Law and M A E S T R O choosing Katerina.

“Law is one of the hardest characters to play,” said Tasty Steve on the livestream. “Katerina, on the other hand, is the character you play with one time, when you’re learning to play,” he continued. After M A E S T R O’s swift defeat, Runitblack gave no mercy to his rap rival IDK, serving K.O. after K.O. almost effortlessly. “Runitblack has a reputation of being a savage in Tekken. To make it more than 15 seconds in a round up against Runitblack,” as Steve put it, “is a work of God himself.”

After Page Kennedy’s teammate Cuddle_Core secured her teams nearly perfect winning streak against M A E S T R O, she jumped up off of the couch, celebrating her defeat of the rival team’s other half, fellow gamer Runitblack. After her jovial outburst, many fans in the live chat were demanding for a gif of her celebratory dance (via Twitch 3:30).

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“The event was so lively,”  Cuddle_Core told HipHopDX. “One of the best parts of the event was being partnered. It’s not everyday that two different communities such as gaming and rapping come together. To know that celebrities are people (down to earth) just like us and have common interests is a great way to show that maybe it is a small world after all. We have lot more in common than we think.”

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Both sides were competing for a lot more than pride. On top of DXTurbo trophies and medals, the winners were going to take home an array of valuable prizes. The champions received Hori’s Fighting Edge joystick and Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa for PlayStation 4, plus a Victrix Pro AF Headset and Playstation pendants from King Ice.

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During the final hours, things became really heated when Page Kennedy/Cuddle_Core & AD/Jackie Tran became the final rappers/gamers standing. Murs and Steve seemed to be quite surprised with the amount of skill Page Kennedy brought to the classic fighter game and were certain that he and Cuddle_Core would be the ones to reign supreme.

However, in a crazy come-from-behind victory, the tag team of AD and Jackie Tran won both rounds necessary for their victory from the losers bracket, and ended up snatching the championship title from the undefeated duo of Page/Cuddle.

The champs joined past winners Kirko Bangz and iPod King Carter, who played NBA Playgrounds in 2017, and Futuristic and Chris Tatarian, who won the inaugural event playing Street Fighter V in 2016.

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HipHopDX would like to thank all of its amazing sponsors that made this possible: BET, Wingstop and Bandai Namco — plus on-site presence brands King Ice, Avion, Hiro, Vitrix, Street Level Clothing and Black Eyed Peas’ Masters Of The Sun — for making DXTurbo III a huge success! Looking for more? Check out the recaps of DX Turbo I (aka #NextLevel) and DXTurbo II (aka DXTurbo).

Watch the full Twitch stream here:

Watch BET & HipHopDX Presents: DXTurbo III from HipHopDX on www.twitch.tv