NBA 2K23 launches Court in Session with artists Chillinit, BARKAA and Sahxl, via BRING

NBA 2K23 has partnered with BRING Universal Music for Brands to launch its new cultural platform Court in Session.

The announcement:

The latest iteration of the top-rated NBA video game simulation series of the past 21 years* is partnering with Universal Music Australia to support the local hip hop scene with the launch of its new cultural platform, Court in Session.

The campaign, released by BRING Universal Music for Brands, brings the rhythm of the basketball court into the world of music by leveraging the sounds of the game itself and turning them into modern beats for the musical talent to MC over. The bouncing of the ball becomes the beat, bleacher stomps become heavy drums and shoe squeaks become record scratches across three original tracks. The three artists were challenged to create their tracks using the same sound effects from the game. The result is three distinct songs with each artist interpreting the themes of this year’s game and turning them into bespoke lyrics to accompany their beats.

The collaboration in hip hop comes off the back of a bespoke study by BRING into the streaming habits of the brands target market, Gen Z males. They found that a staggering 33% of all streams of their target demographic were from the genre, making it the number one loved genre for a new generation of fans. In addition to this, 58% of Gen Z males follow music artists on social media, more than any other celebrity.

The Court in Session platform brings together three of the country’s most hyped hip hop talent, selected to give the campaign mass appeal. Australia’s most streamed solo hip hop artist, Chillinit leads the trio with the release of his song ‘Big Swish’. Rapper and Malyangapa, Barkindji woman, and recent face of #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 22, BARKAA releases her original song, ‘Ball ‘On Em’. Finally, 19-year-old vocal prince Sahxl, one of Australia’s next breakout stars releases his basketball infused anthem ‘The One’.

Says Chillinit, who was nominated for best hip hop album at this year’s ARIA’s: “It’s been such an honour to work with the team at 2K and BRING 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 2K with a Big Swish.”

Full length performance content becomes the heartbeat of the campaign. Produced by Entropico, the Court in Session performances bring the idea to life on a grand scale. As each artist performs atop the court (their stage), four giant LED screens display meticulously synced footage of the videogame, with each of the unique beat sounds being brought to life around each of the artists through vision. The result is a visual spectacle designed to showcase local hip hop on the global stage.

“Right from the start, our strategy led us to hip hop.” Said James Griffiths, executive creative director, BRING: “We knew that if we could land an original concept that leveraged both the equity of the game and the artists that love it, we would be onto something special. With Court in Session, we believe we have a truly unique platform that no other brand could own, and for us that’s the sweet spot. Fusing gaming culture with basketball and of course music, we have created a one-of-a-kind stage for artists to express themselves. We’re thrilled with what the talent have created here, and the enthusiasm they have brought to the project. We can’t wait to see how the fans react to the music.”

In what is a truly integrated campaign, the tracks will be made available through streaming partners and the artists will appear via virtual billboards in NBA 2K23 globally, connecting music and gamers. This is the result of a year-long process led by BRING, engaging all commercial parties ensuring all elements of the collaboration were deeply integrated to drive maximum value for the brand and artists, whilst maintaining maximum relevance for both gaming and music fans.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with such great local talent and to be able to be facilitators of taking them to a global audience through our game” Said David Kelley at 2K Games, “NBA 2K has always prided itself in being central to hip hop culture and with Court in Session in collaboration with BRING, we are proud to have created a platform that majestically combines our game, hip hop and basketball in a truly authentic & ownable way to appeal to a new audience.”

The track releases dropped yesterday to drive awareness of the video game at a key retail moment. In addition to the hero performances, BRING has created a number of ways for fans to engage with the campaign. The songs were first aired exclusively on CADA, Australia’s home for hip hop & R&B. A media partnership with The Brag touches a wider audience, and finally content will be amplified through Universal Music’s first party social targeting.

The campaign will run via: The Brag Media/Rolling Stone digital partnership; CADA – On air/social/digital; Youtube; Interactive banners; Artist socials; 2K Global channels; and In game Billboards within NBA 2K23 game (cross platform).

*According to 2008-2022 (metacritic.com)


Client: NBA 2K

BRING, Universal Music for Brands
Adam Ireland, General Manager
James Griffiths, Executive Creative Director
Brooke Pilton, Executive Partnerships Director
James ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson, Creative
Chris Russell, Brand Partnerships Director
Isabella Ziino, Account Manager

PR Agency: Identity PR; Karen Griffin

Entropico Production company
Directed by: Gabriel Gasparinatos
EP: Harry Hunter & Erin Moy
Produced by Sophia de Vries
DOP: Tyson Perkins
Stills: Cole Bennetts

Source: Universal Music Australia


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