Video games and Hip Hop are two things I grew up on and identify with as part of my development as the upstanding citizen you see before you (pretend you can see me). Still, to this day, the two seem to co-mingle in my world on a regular basis. Just the other day, a conversation between my girlfriend and I sparked the idea for this blog entry. She stated it never occurred to her that Hip Hop could influence video games (or vice versa). In an attempt to reply, I found myself venturing down a rabbit hole of sorts. I decided that I had to hunt down all the hip hop songs I could find, with video game music samples mixed into them. That self imposed mission has resulted in this list of 12 Hip Hop songs with awesome video game music samples mixed into them.
Lil Flip “Game Over” (2003)
Samples Pac Man (1980)
On the aptly titled “Game Over”, Lil Flip and Nick Fury (Producer, NOT Avenger) take the classic 8 bit video game tune and get all sorts of Down South Crunk on it. Back in 2004, Namco sued the rapper and Sony BMG for the uncleared sampling of the track. Eventually, they ended up settling out of court.
People Under The Stairs “Gamin On Ya” (2008)
Samples Galaga (1981)
This track is featured on the sixth album by People Under The Stairs, titled Fun DMC. “Gamin’ On Ya” not only samples the robotic soundtrack of the arcade classic, but also takes the listener on a trip through the video game arcade excitement of the 1980’s. With nods to Double Dragon and Spyhunter, PUTS acknowledge their fandom of 80’s video games and the culture that has now spanned over three decades.
DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince “Human Video Game” (1988)
Samples Donkey Kong (1981)
I’ll admit it, I was a huge fan of DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince when their debut album “He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper” was released. One of the less popular tracks from said album is “Human Video Game”. The track speaks of the dangers of video game addiction, acknowledging his uncontrollable habit of dumping loads of quarters in the Donkey Kong arcade cabinet. No matter how ridiculous the story is here, the song still remains pretty awesome with the inclusion of beat box genius Ready Rock C.
Beanie Sigel “Mac Man” (2000)
Samples Ms Pac Man (1981)
On “Mac Man”, Beanie Sigel takes the 8-bit music from Ms. Pac Man and drags it through the grime of the Philadelphia ghettos. Sigel keeps his eye on the video game sample throughout the track, spinning his words to continually reference the culture. His former boss and mentor Jay-Z ended up using the cadence featured in this track on “Girls, Girls, Girls” which ultimately gained more radio play and commercial success. Oops!
Saigon “Get Busy” (2010)
Samples Super Mario Bros. (1985)
In Saigon’s “Get Busy”, Luigi is a mushroom addicted bad guy who abducts Mario’s lady. Ultimately Mario proves himself by threatening Luigi with a…cigarette? The story doesn’t have much follow through here, but that doesn’t really matter as the use of the Super Mario Bros. theme song seems to invoke a big smile and sense of nostalgia when this track is played.
U-N-I “Castlevania” (2008)
Samples Castlevania (1986)
U-N-I and producer Diaba$e take the relatively spooky 8-bit music from the Konami classic Castlevania for the aptly titled “Casltevania”. What’s interesting here is, U-N-I seems to pay tribute to every video game EXCEPT Castlevania. I guest sampling the music is enough!
Statik Selektah (Feat. Big Shug) “Punch Out” (2008)
Samples Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (1987)
21 years after the release of the classic Nintendo game, producer Statik Selektah not only samples the music featured in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, he straight out names this track after the game! Featuring vocals by Gang Starr associate Big Shug, “Punch Out” succeeds at making me want to take a trip back in video game time. Just call me Little Mac!
Gucci Mane (Feat. 2 Chainz) “Get It Back” (2012)
Samples Tetris (1989)
Like many fans of the classic game Tetris, I found myself having dreams based on the game-play back in the early 90’s. Now here comes Gucci Mane, taking his slowed down version of the Tetris theme song and rapping plain spoken like all over it. After watching this video, one can only assume I’ll now have dreams about big booty bitches twerkin’ it. 2 CHAINZ!
Jay-Z (Feat. DMX) “Money, Cash, Hoes” (1998)
Samples Golden Axe (1989)
Okay, for those of you who do not know this, Jay-Z is my all time favorite rapper. So when I found out that his track “Money, Cash, Hoes” samples a video game, I was like whaaaat? I guess this just chalks it up to the genius that is Swizz Beats. Taken from the “Thief’s Theme” from Golden Axe, it’s hard to tell this song about 90’s hip hop excess takes a sample from a game full of sword wielding muscular barbarian types.
Wiz Khalifa “One Way” (2009)
Samples Kirby’s Adventure (1993)
Four years ago, Wiz Khalifa released “One Way” which samples the 1993 game Kirby’s Adventure. The game in question follows a rotund pink pig looking cloud thing who lives in Dream Land and inhales enemies and spits them out as weapons. I’m pretty sure Mr. Khalifa here has inhaled his fair share of enemies. From now on, I will only refer to marijuana as “enemies”.
Young Jeezy (Feat. Akon) “Soul Survivor” (2005)
Samples Goldeneye 007 (1997)
Here’s another one of those songs that I had no idea sampled a video game. In 2005, Young Jeezy and Akon battle in the streets of the video for “Soul Survivor”. What better way to set the tone for the grittiness of this track than to lift a tense riff from the bunkers of Goldeneye 007. (Game Of The Year? Really?)
Danny Brown “Lincoln Continental” (2011)
Samples Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Danny Brown once again teamed up with producer Brandun DeShay for the track “Lincoln Continental”. Here, they take Nobuo Uematsu’s classic theme from Final Fantasy VII and creates a damn funky loop that will make any one bob their heads. The song has no other nod to video games, but seriously, with the catchy beat and hook, who the fuck cares? Ima be bumpin’ this in my car now.
Those are my favorite 12 video game samples in Hip Hop. Since there’s way more than simply twelve tracks out there, I’m itchin’ to find out what your faves are that didn’t make the cut. So, pretend you’re Donkey Kong and throw them barrels at me!
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