It takes a tremendous amount of multitasking skills to stream video games while staying engaged with viewers, but this Twitch streamer is so smooth with it, he can freestyle rap while playing Destiny 2.
Uhmaayyze, real name Detrick Houchens, became a must-watch streamer on Twitch not only for his jaw-dropping skills at Destiny 2, but with the freestyle raps he’d perform while he’s styling on opponents. Every Houchens freestyle I’ve seen has the same infectious energy and gravitating cadence of a seasoned rapper effortlessly passing radio host Sway Calloway’s “Five Fingers of Death’’ freestyle segment with flying colors. The talented rapper, it turns out, found his humble beginnings in the cafeteria of Falling Creek Intermediate School.
During a chat, Houchens told me he wasn’t the most popular kid at school. Kids would clown on him at sports because of his asthma, but they’d always change their tune at the cafeteria lunch table when he’d beatbox to other kid’s freestyle raps.
During his last year of middle school Houchens came into his own and added freestyling rapping to his repertoire, and by high school he got serious about chasing his dream of becoming a rapper. But he had to put it on hold to make ends meet. He worked two jobs; one as a part-time sales associate at Men’s Warehouse and another at UPS, where he currently works as a part-time driver. It was at UPS where he met a co-worker who reignited his passion for spittin’ verses.
“I can remember it like it was yesterday,” Houchens said. “We used to do raps at work, literally just rapping the whole day away. We would come up with hooks and do all of these things together.”
Although he and his new friend got to recording tracks and performing for crowds, Houchens would again put his dream on hold with the arrival of his son.
Houchens started his streaming career on Twitch in 2015. He didn’t have a camera at the start, but what he did have was a headset and an Xbox, which was enough to let his viewers hear him spit some rhymes. By his third year of streaming, Houchens was comfortable enough in his skills to monetize his freestyles with subscription goals, and this year he started streaming Destiny 2 and freestyling simultaneously.
“I really thought at this point I was done with doing freestyles, but streaming developed that and brought it back,” he said.
If you happen to be on the receiving end of a sunseeker-class Destiny 2 warlock with an ace of spades hand cannon or frozen orbit sniper rifle, hopefully you aren’t on the opposite end of Houchens’ kill feed during one of his freestyles. Houchens says he enters a Zen-like state whenever he freestyles, to the point where he takes in all that he’s observing in the game and his bars just flow out of him.
“While I’m telling a story, I’m still playing the game at this beautiful level, dropping freestyles, taking heads off, [and] sniping people,” he said. “My mindset is still into the bars, but still into the game.”
Hitting sniper shots, popping golden guns, and dropping freestyles has changed how Houchens views streaming in a lot of ways, but what matters to him most is when people discover who he is as a person through the motivational speeches he often posts on Twitter.
Houchens’ drive to uplift others comes from his late grandmother and his father, who is currently battling cancer. Houchens feels that by gaining prominence through streaming, he’ll be better able to not only motivate and lift up other people, like his father and grandmother did for him, but set a good example for his son.
“My father [is] one of the main reasons that I continue to push forward and not let all of these bad messages, hate raids, and this generation that we’re living in now with all of this hate against Black people stop me from going higher, because I’m doing great,” he told me.
Houchens encourages his followers to chase their dreams and to look at his story as an example for how they can achieve their own. When he can, Houchens makes sure to give back to the Black community with any leftover revenue he makes from his streams. Just recently, he sent $250 to a member of his chat who’s been struggling during the pandemic.
The attention Houchens has garnered from his streams haven’t always been positive. He’s had his fair share of struggles, encountering naysayers and detractors both as a child and an adult, often because of the color of his skin. Since starting his career on Twitch, he’s suffered from hate raids and has even had people photoshop photos he’s shared of his son to make it look like the child’s being hanged.
“Any time you’re doing good, somebody always wants to come in and slow you all the way down,” he said. “I tell everybody that I will work my ass off to make sure that my mental state is in order first. It’s not an easy road, especially for a person of my color.”
When you become known for doing one thing, it’s easy to be pigeonholed into that box for the rest of your career, but Houchens hopes to eventually take his streaming full-time and pivot toward incorporating more motivational speeches into his streams.
“If I can do this full time, you bet your butt off I’m going for motivational speeches,” he said. “And you might be able to catch some freestyles.”