Kanye West and Lil Pump released a music video for “I Love It” on September 7 that depicts the pair of rappers in giant blocky suits slowly walking down a hall catcalling Adele Givens. Video game fans noticed that Kanye and Lil Pump’s costumes looked as if they’d stepped out of the video game Roblox—a _Minecraft-_style game where players can build and program their own worlds.
The 48 hours after the video's release saw Roblox YouTubers piling on to the meme with their own videos and remixes. Kanye reinforced the theory on September 9 when he tweeted out a photoshop of the music video with the Roblox title floating above his head.
It seemed the rapper has given his (admittedly fading) cred and coolness to a children’s video game. Suddenly, Roblox is cool to the mainstream.
But here’s the thing. Roblox was always cool. If Kanye gets more people playing it, all the better, but Roblox has been popular for a long time. There are more than 178 million Roblox accounts, according to a verified Roblox developer on Quora, and more than 30 million users a month. It’s a popular game that not many people talk about.
Which is wild because, though it’s similar to Minecraft, Roblox is more creative. Roblox runs on a loose collection of servers where players navigate across different games and worlds using Playmobil-looking avatars, similar to Kanye and Lil Pump in the music video. It’s not just about wandering around and creating worlds like in Minecraft. Roblox users can create new content, worlds, and even game-types they then sell back to the community.
There are hide-and-seek servers, Counter-Strike style shooters, pizza restaurant sims, and even Spider-Man simulators. Again, most of this is stuff created by the community. For some of those members, Roblox is an income stream—a good Roblox creator can make as much as $50,000 a month selling the stuff they make. The graphics may be low-fi, but the open nature of the software and simplicity of the platform has driven a ton of innovation within the game. It’s also, unfortunately, made it a playground for hackers and griefers.
Despite that, Roblox just keeps going and it doesn’t need Kanye’s help. As of this writing, just over 40 million people have watched Kanye’s latest video. That’s about 20 percent of existing Roblox accounts.