Why Def Jam Fight For NY And The Proud Family Are More Necessary Today Than They Once Were
Ahead of their time?
May 09, 2017 at 8:04 pm
A few Saturdays ago I dug up my PlayStation 2 and enjoyed a weekend of Def Jam Fight For New York while watching a 3 hour marathon of The Proud Family on my laptop. In the midst of the two, I thought to myself. These two were WAY ahead of their time. Meaning that in 2017, Def Jam FFNY and The Proud Family would have been just as necessary, if not more, than they were in the early 2000's.
If you ain't played Fight For New York that is a shame… And I feel sorry for ya. For those unfamiliar with Def Jam Fight For New York, it was the sequel to a video game called Def Jam Vendetta. It featured rappers and singers under the Def Jam Umbrella, actors, and fictional characters who all came together to work towards one of the best fighting games of the 2000s. Vendetta was nice, but Fight For New York took it to another level. You could play as Method Man, Redman, Scarface, David Banner, Bonecrusher, Sean Paul and so many others. They even had actors and actresses such as Henry Rollins, Danny Trejo and Carmen Electra. YES! The Baywatch jawn that married Dennis Rodman for 3 months. You create a character, dress him up in the flyyyyeeesssttttt gear. I was raised by a single mother, and she worked hard to keep me decently dressed in school, I'm from the era of white tees, random jeans and sneakers so it wasn't hard to be basic fresh. But dammit if I ain't live through my Def Jam character. They had Mecca, Phat Farm, all the 2000s hotness and you know ya boy had to rock a Sean Jean velour track suit for at least 5 fights with the blue Timbs because I don't give a damn who you are, even if the desire was minute, you wanted to dress like you were in a Jagged Edge video at some point of your high school career. The nostalgia is insane.
This is only part of the reason why this game was so necessary. Just think of the current state of hip-hop and urban culture. If this video game were to come out in 2017 and feature the artists and actors that they did, those from the past, and current entertainers, this game could relieve so much stress. Walk with ya boy through his imagination for a minute. All this beef and BS going on in the game right now. Drake and The Game can tag team Meek Mill and Sean Kingston. Give him a lead pipe and throw J. Cole in a handicapped match with Lil Uzi and Yachty (The Lil Whateva's) and let him bring justice to hip hop. Bruh.. Killer Mike and David Banner are at peak wokeness right now. Whoever they feel isn't doing enough or anything for the culture, have him jump those fools in the African American museum. Pick up a W.E.B. DuBois wax figure and wear they ass out. Grab a bucket and literally cast it down. Lil Wayne and Birdman have a beef that is so necessary to settle. Big KRIT can take on the whole rap game one by one for doubting him. 2Pac and Biggie can take on Kodak Black for dirtying their names. Hell if they can make a hologram they can put them on the game, right? And to top it off, while you're on your journey, you can swing by the Breakfast Club and argue with Charlemagne and try to bag Angela Yee. The whole team can help you through your missions!
And missions brings me to the incredibly dope story line. In the game, the boss from the prequel, D-Mob gets arrested. Your created player breaks him out of custody and he, in turn, takes you under his wing and introduces you to the world of underground street fighting. You join his crew and you fight a rival crew lead by none other than Snoop Dogg (who makes for an amazing villain by the way). You climb The ranks in D-Mob's crew joining forces with Method Man, Redman, Xzibit, Scarface and plenty others. You even find yourself a lil' shorty- then Snoop kidnaps her.. The storyline leads you through romance, fame, betrayal, death and more. Emotionally, it takes its toll. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I don't know if Baby Boy prepared him for it, but Snoop really did a fantastic job at being a villain. Who knew?!
I'm a writer, I'm all for story lines. To my knowledge, Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto, and Def Jam FFNY had untouchable story lines. How could Def Jam completely separate itself, you ask? Well, I'm happy to tell you. There is a woman out there who exudes Black Girl Magic by the name of Shonda Rhimes. I think if she helped write the story line it would be epic! Think about it, say D-Mob was coming up in the NY streetfighting scene back in the day. He's put up against another fighter from across town who is supposed to be the best in the city. He gives his all in the fight and winds up killing his opponent. He's now the king of the city but he's guilt ridden. His opponent had a baby on the way, that baby is your created player. On his rise to prominence in New York, he makes sure to anonymously send money and connections to your created player and his mother. He pulls the necessary strings to eventually take you under his wing while you're clueless about how big of a role He played in your life. Throw in a writer from "Sons of Anarchy" and a scene where Xzibit goes out via lead pipe like Opie (that one still hurts by the way) and FFNY is easily in the video game Hall of Fame.
Let's add a bonus mode in the game (because I'm writing this and I can do what I want). What makes games 10 times more fun? Zombies. Where is this game taking place? New York. How bout your character is at the subway station and each time a train pulls up to The station, a horde of zombies wearing butter Timberlands and Yankee fitteds get off and you have to fight for your life. You are literally fighting "Deadass Zombies". Deadass mode. Maaaaaaannnnnn.
That was a great Roller coaster ride, if you're down I'm extending an invitation to join me for another ride. From 2001 to 2005, Disney had a show called the Proud Family. It was about a middle school-aged black girl named Penny Proud and her upper-middle-class family who go through their everyday lives. This was the blackest thing Disney has done since the crows from Dumbo.
The Proud Family touched on topics that definitely mattered in 2001 but boy if they not full blown in 2017.
There was one episode where the students at Penny's school traded families and cultures for a week. Penny swapped families with a Muslim classmate. While staying with her family she experienced Ramadan and other beliefs important to the Muslim culture. Unknown students at the school vandalized the Muslim girl's property calling her a terrorist and other unnecessary slurs. Do I need to elaborate on why this is more necessary in 2017? Unless you've been under a rock lately you feel me.
There was a character on the Proud Family named Michael. Michael was an effeminate black male. He was a cheerleader, he was a fashion guru, he wore those sweatshirts that women wore in the 80s that exposed their shoulders, he was labeled a "sissy", his father was a football coach and oddly enough he was a great basketball player. Let's put Michael in 2017, and he were to come out of the closet, or he decided he was transgender and he's up against a fight for his rights to live his life the way he wants. Is that not necessary in 2017?
One of Penny's close friends was a girl named Zoe. She was the the only white girl in the group and she was a loyal friend to Penny. Is it crazy to imagine her hanging with Penny and her friends and family since Middle School lead her to "identify" as black? So she applies to an HBCU, tans her skin, gets a weave and pulls a you know who?
Or what if Penny's black male friend, Sticky ran into a racist cop or vigilante at night and got beaten because he "fit the description" and the media tried their hardest to dirty his image. Didn't matter if he was pre-med in college with no priors and he was on his way to bible study. The media called him a thug. Didn't matter if there was dash cam footage of him saying "I just left the house, I'm going to church" bible in hand while police are beating him senseless. The media called him a thug.
How bout if Penny's Hispanic neighbor/frenemy Lacienega Boulevardes and her family were constantly being taunted by people about being sent "back to where they came from" and a wall being built to keep them out because the president said so?
Also, remember the young lady Solange who sung the original theme song? Is she not one of the most woke songstresses right now? Can you imagine what kind of "Don't touch my hair", coconut oil infused, Black Girl Magic would exude through your speakers before every episode?
Middle school Penny Proud was already militant. She stood up for what she believed in. She didn't take too kindly to people being mistreated. 2017 Penny would be protesting EVERYTHING! She wouldn't stop at Black Lives Matter. She would be at the pipeline. She would be screaming Trans Rights. She would wave the rainbow flag. She would be SO. ANTI. RACIST. PRESIDENT! Maybe Disney wouldn't air this show but I'm thinking BET would jump at the opportunity to get this going.
A man can dream right?