With Black History Month kicking off at the beginning of February, it's less than surprising that Psyonix has chosen to get in on the action. What car-football and the historic plight of African American people have to do with each other is beyond me, but I do have to give them kudos to their latest collection of Player Anthems. Whilst this might be the racial-awareness equivalent of pretty hardcore "greenwashing" (a common phenomenon whereby modern companies adopt a pro-environmental image to sell more products), this is a pretty solid free bundle.
The artists and songs featured in this bundle are not only impressive names, but historically significant. In fact, the collection, named "Behind the Samples", include songs from a variety of famous funk groups. We've downloaded them and, to be honest, this is a top-notch way to play Rocket League, the vibes are freakin' fantastic. Additionally, Psyonix have announced that the First Touch Podcast will feature special Black History Month "content pieces" throughout February.
It's not just these new additions to the Rocket League Item Shop and these First Touch Segments that we have to be excited about, either. Rocket League community members Dazerin, TBates, Roll Dizz and Jayski are also geared up to run special events and produce Black History Month themed content right through to the end of February. We're not entirely sure what this will all entail, but this is what we're truly excited about.
What Is In The Rocket League "Behind the Samples" Bundle?
Rocket League will see the addition of three new Black History Month themed Player Anthems in the new "Behind the Samples" Bundle. These songs, featuring none other than the Detroit Emeralds, the Ohio Players and The Winstons, will all be available for free and are tunes often sampled and featured in modern R&B and Hiphop music. Here's what you can expect:
- Detroit Emeralds: You're Getting a Little Too Smart
- Ohio Players: Funky Worm
- The Winstons: Amen Brother
Interestingly, it seems that Psyonix have done their homework with these bad-boys, presenting us with a few brief descriptions for each of these songs. Whilst I have my reservations about the whole concept of this bundle – lumping Black History Month in with things like the Cyclone Bundle and various flamboyant decals and items does seem a little off – I do have to give it to them: this is actually pretty cool.
Who Are The Detroit Emeralds?
It seems that the Detroit Emeralds were a soul-vocal group that rose to prominence in the 1970s. One of their biggest singles was called "Fell the Need in Me" and is pretty fantastic. They released five different studio albums, all of which did reasonably well in the US R&B Charts. This is what Psyonix has to say about them:
The Detroit Emeralds were active in the '60s and '70s and made several hits that reached the R&B Top 10 as well as the pop charts at the time. Their songs live on today through samples used by Kendrick Lamar, Common, Nas, and many others.
This Black History Month, we're honoring the culture and contributions of black artists with free Player Anthems featuring Detroit Emeralds, Ohio Players, and The Winstons. Now available in the Item Shop.https://t.co/mSYeo7M9v9 pic.twitter.com/wqJBVilEE5— Rocket League (@RocketLeague) February 1, 2022
Who are The Winstons?
Similarly to the Detroit Emeralds, The Winstons gained prominence predominantly in the late 1960s and 1970s. Their combination of funk and soul music led them to record their seminal work, "Color Him Father", a single that featured "Amen, Brother" on the B-Side. This B-Side then became the source of a drum solo that would be sampled repeatedly in electronic music over the coming decades.
The Winstons are a Grammy-winning group out of Washington, D.C. The group is best known for their drum solos, especially the famous “Amen Break” sample. This 6-second section is the most sampled piece of music of all time and was a key ingredient in creating the Drum and Bass and Jungle genres.
Who are the Ohio Players?
Completing the trio, the Ohio Players were best known for "Fire" and "Love Rollercoaster". These guys were famous for featuring erotic cover arts, and several of their albums even went gold in the 1970s. In 2013, the Ohio Players were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. Pretty cool, right? In the words of Psyonix:
The Ohio Players formed in Dayton, Ohio, and are members of the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame. The group has had nearly a dozen albums hit the top 100 U.S. Pop Chart, including 1974's "Fire" that reached number 1.
Well, there you have it: everything you could possibly want to know about Rocket League's Black History Month celebrations. It is a little bare-bones, and does seem like a bit of an odd thing to do, but we're not complaining. These are some great Player Anthems and you should definitely check them out!