Lil Yachty is an award-nominated rapper whose songs have earned him millions of followers around the world. He is also the newest member of the FaZe Clan, a gaming collective that is fast becoming the Supreme of esports.
The team officially welcomed Lil Yachty to FaZe Clan during the rapper’s performance at the Rolling Loud festival this past weekend. Yachty invited several FaZe members including RiceGum (a YouTube creator with over 10 million subscribers) and frontman Richard “FaZe Banks” Bengtson on stage. They then presented him with his own shirt and welcomed him into the group “FaZe Boat”. It is unclear if Yachty has his own merchandise line, or what his role will be within the FaZe clan, but he is 100% invested in the organization, according to a recent interview, seen below.
Although Yachty is the newest celebrity to team up with FaZe Clan, he is certainly not the first. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster teamed up with FaZe Clan and secured his own marketing line, and embarked on the international European road trip, called Gumball 3000.
FaZe Clan started in 2010 as a gaming clan that produced elaborate “cheats” Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II videos on YouTube, and expanded into competitive gaming a couple of years later with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. It wasn’t until 2016 that FaZe Clan owners Thomas Oliveira, Yousef Abdelfattah and Nordan Shat decided to buy a pro. Counter Strike Global Offensive team that FaZe Clan really started getting into esports. However, they never forgot their YouTube roots.
As FaZe Clan has grown over the years, the gaming clan has grown into a luxury entertainment brand. The FaZe Clan members live in a giant mansion in the Hollywood Hills, living side by side with Bengtson’s other YouTube initiative, Clout Gang (a group of popular YouTube vloggers). They maintain personal YouTube channels and Twitch accounts with millions of subscribers. They launched their own merchandise lines and released Diss tracks with some of the best on YouTube.
FaZe Clan became the gaming equivalent of a streetwear lifestyle brand; They are essentially the Supreme of esports.
Like Supreme, a clothing line built on the promise of hype and widely recognized coolness, FaZe Clan seems more like a personality and merchandise-focused endeavor than a traditional esports brand. FaZe Clan has more in common with traditional streetwear companies than esports mega-organizations like Evil Geniuses and Cloud9.
FaZe Clan isn’t the only collective teaming up with celebrities to introduce the streetwear lifestyle brand to the gaming community. Esports and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves made headlines recently after Drake and producer Scooter Braun became co-owners of the collective. Much like FaZe Clan and its founding origins, which are rooted in YouTube personality stardom, 100 Thieves was started by Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, an extremely popular YouTube creator.
Also like FaZe Clan, 100 Thieves’ main goal is to produce a line of merchandise similar to other popular streetwear lifestyle garments. The goal doesn’t seem to necessarily be to win big esports tournaments, but to jump on the game’s massive audience and player base, and provide a streetwear aesthetic that they can wear while on the go. Marketing, as YouTube creators know, is everything.