Rapper Lupe Fiasco beats Street Fighter legend Daigo Umehara at his own game – CNET
If you’re a fighting game buff, you’ve likely seen this footage of Daigo Umehara parrying his way to a dazzling comeback in Street Fighter III at the Evo 2004 fighting game tournament.
Daigo is renowned in the e-sports scene as one of the world’s best Street Fighter players, known in Japan as “the god of 2D fighting games”, but on Monday night met an opponent he couldn’t overcome — rapper Lupe Fiasco.
The two squared off in a Street Fighter V contest, letting the world watch via livestream on Twitch. Shockingly, the famed hip hop artist clinched an upset victory, beating Daigo 3-2.
Lupe is known to be a big gamer, sometimes making videogame references in his music, but it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he’d lose to the experienced Daigo. Lupe himself tweeted back in January that it would be an honour to lose to the fighting game pro.
Their showdown, put together by arcade joypad makers MadCatz, is the latest example of e-sports’ increasing mainstream appeal. Other such indications are the popularity of Twitch, a widely used game streaming platform, and the massive $18.5 million prize pool that was at stake at last year’s DOTA 2 International tournament, which culminated at the KeyArena Centre in Seattle, Washington.
“I almost cried on stage,” Lupe said in a post-match interview, adding that playing Diago “was a bucket list thing.”
Fiasco and Daigo’s games ended particularly climatically — each player winning two best-of-three games and tied going into the deciding round — which, mixed with the surprising result, lead to some suspecting that this was more staged “e-sports entertainment” than e-sports.
Their suspicions weren’t helped by Lupe, who, when asked if he would compete in an official Evo fighting game tournament, exclaimed “I’m retiring…I’ll take the win and run, I know when to get out.”
Still, the event still proved to be a big hit among fighting game and e-sports fans, with Twitter buzzing before, during and especially after. It didn’t take long for an #IfLupeCanBeatDaigo hashtag to start making the rounds following the rapper’s win.
See the bout in its entirety below. Stay tuned for the rematch — possibly a rap battle, possibly on pay-per-view.
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