In this era, it is rare you get the family and friends together for a game in the United States. Such phenomenons are a thing of the past to most. All games of the past have been put on apps and youth, as well as adults, play on their mobile devices. Urban culture however, has predominantly been a “community gaming” culture. Games such as dominoes, spades, Uno, and tonk have long been staples to people of inner cities & down south. With that kept in mind, urban & Hip-Hop culture entrepreneur Rodrick Rainey may have set a new trend unknowingly. The founder of the web’s 1st Hip-Hop fashion site (circa 2002) showcased his idea of Hip-hop scrabble in a video and the fun new game is catching on.
How The Game Works
Hip-Hop scrabble runs on all the conventional rules of scrabble excluding one. The single difference, users can play proper names and words if related to Hip-Hop culture. Every rapper name, fashion brand by a rap artist, or album title can be played as a word. If a “Hip-Hop product” gets challenged however, the player of the word must identify with what rapper the subject is owned. After the related artist name is stated, the word and artist can be verified via google. If the challenge is a fail, the challenger loses their turn. Anytime a Hip-Hop term gets played and correct, give the player of the word double the score set by the board.
All rappers played must have at minimum a gold single or 1-million views on YouTube. Mixtape rappers do not count at this time.
Will an official version come?
A few people have started playing the game on social media. However, it has not brought the attention of most blog outlets. Therefore, it is unlikely a retail version will be released soon. However, with the popularity of Hip-Hop culture globally, this could really help scrabble become a trendy social wave in today’s generations. Rainey jokingly suggested a meetup and tournament, with the winner getting “a nice bag” (money). That could be the motivator to get more involved from urban culture indeed.
Example words that could be played include, but far from limited to:
reasonable doubt, jay-z, rocawear, diddy, sean john, phat farm, russell simmons, eminem, tekashi, rakim, big daddy kane, migos, culture, lil yachty, drama, pastor troy, pharrell, billionaire boys club, timbaland, the clipse, play clothes, pusha t, beyonce, heavy d, fresh prince, dj jazzy jeff, nipsey hussle, victory lap, yg, tyga, lil wayne, nicki minaj, remy ma, papoose, outkast, aquemini, andre 3000, big boi, mc shane, melle mel, soulja boy, jewels, bow wow, dababy, baby on baby, destorm, c.khid, traphik, wiz khalifa, chevy woods, jimmy wopo, da real gee money, nba youngboy, lil boosie, master p, birdman, mannie fresh, silkk da shocker, c murder, tru, 2 chainz, chief keef, lil durk, ferdo santana, camoflauge, b smyth, usher, jermaine dupri, pimp c, ugk, bun b, geto boyz, scarface, rae scremmurd, scremmlife, cole world, jcole, kendrick lamar, to pimp a butterfly, mac miller, vanilla ice, suge knight, snoop dogg, the chronic, tupac, all eyes on me, notorious big, ready to die, Q Tip, mos Def, Immort Technique, etc
History of Scrabble
Since it was invented in 1933, scrabble has seen many updates and variations. The original investor was architect Alfred Mosher Butts and he made the game in his Newton, Connecticut home’s garage. He studied the frequency of which we use individual letters in english text. Butts determined that “Q” was the least frequently used letter and made it only a single quantity tile, worth a game-changing 10 points.
The original name of the wordy game was actually “Lexico” according to MentalFloss.com. Looking for something more appealing, the name of the game was changed to “Criss-Crosswords” after. With the help of a friend and business-savvy acquaintance who later became Butt’s partner, James Brunot got the architect to approve it’s final name “Scrabble” in the late 1930s. In exchange for giving Brunot much of the control of the business, Butts simply took a payout and royalties from each unit sold.
Originally, no major store chains wanted to purchase the game that’s made the company “Hasbro” billions of dollars to date. Butts and Bruno peddled the idea to several vendors who declined their product, but the driven duo moved on. Eventually the owner of the store Macy’s heard and played “Scrabble” and decided to place it in all store chains. The quantity ordered was too big for the business partners, so they then sold the game to manufacturing group, Selchow and Righter in 1972. S&R was sold to Coleco Industries in 1986, a big buyout. However, 3 year later the Coleco company imploded and declared bankruptcy. Hasbro, who still owns Scrabble today, slid in and purchased the game along with Parcheesi.
Today, the Scrabble trademark is owned by Mattel in most countries of the world. Hasbro Inc owns the trademark in the western world however, likely earning the most of all via Canada and the United States. The game formerly called “Lexico” and “Criss-Cross” is sold in 121 countries globally and has been made in at least 29 languages. Wikipedia claims over 150 million game sets of Scrabble have been made as of 2019. An estimated thirty percent of American houses have the game. In Britain, an even more impressive fifty percent of homes have the game.
A shocking factor for some, the official Scrabble player’s dictionary is “too real,” and far from your scrabble word finder tools of 2019. Much like rap it’s explicit and rooted in reality. Profanity and racial slurs are included in the book. Hasbro’s change to this came book came from the “Anti-Defamation League” accusing the company of selling a game of hate. However, Hasbro’s did not create the dictionary. Major Scrabble clubs organizer John D. Williams said the words were needed, because it’s important people do not avoid reality.
Looking to get your scrabble on? Keep in mind there are over 4000 clubs in the world. Online and mobile devices have official Scrabble gaming services to play competitors via internet as well.
How serious are scrabble tournaments? There are professionals to the game who get paid to show their word play savvy (read here). It’s said one can earn up to 6-figures a year if they play their words and business moves right.
Jimmy Kimmel and rapper YG did sketch comedy on urbanizing Scrabble for bloods as well. Watch the video below.