Friday, January 15, 2010

The hip hop connection Pt 1

When it comes to countdowns, R Kelly says it best: "Usually I don't do this." I'm not a top five or top ten person. I read those lists, but I can't say that anything I do would be better or worse than what you'd find on sites that do the service. That's why I'm not going to make a top ten list. I am, however going to not make this your run-of-the-mill list. So let's not call this a countdown let's call it a connection.

What is the connection? you're probably thinking to yourself. Well from the early 90's moving on through even now Hip hop has had a connection with Video games. In fact the two are intertwined. Whether it's talking about the latest system of the time, or how they're unstoppable in Street Fighter or Madden. The Hip hop head, has embraced gaming before it gained the "mainstream appeal" of today. Here I have compiled a few songs throughout the years focusing on these connections. each link makes a strong chain that formed my musical upbringing, and makes me nostalgic for a bygone era both in games, and in music.

From mere mention........

Notorious B.I.G - Juicy

This is the most obvious connection. Anyone familiar with this track remembers the line "Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, when I was dead broke, man i couldn't picture this!." That line made me smile when I first heard it. It was like I had something in common with these guys who rapped about the streets and did all the things my devout christian parents warned me not to do.

House of Pain - Jump around

Another one that instantly comes to mind. That line "Or better yet a Terminator, like arnold schwarzenegger, trying to play me out as if my name was Sega." stuck out to me like a gamer's thumb. Another testament to the collective cleverness of the time.

Lady of Rage - Afro Puffs

Street Fighter II was big despite being rehashed to death and suffering from a unintentionally hilarious live action movie. Nothing reflected that more than hearing someone yell "Shoryuken!" in public, or in this case "Hitting MCees like haaa-you-get". Sure the translation was a bit off, but phonetically we knew what you were talking about. Jay-Z brings this line back from the dead later in "Change Clothes" broken english intact.

Street Fighter: the Movie soundtrack

And speaking of the live action movie, I have to mention the movie soundtrack which was actually really good. Tons of great Emcees rapping about the one-on-one combat phenom that was Street Fighter. The most memorable tracks being "It's a street fight" by B.U.M.S. and "Do you have what it takes" by the surely missed Craig Mack.

Jazzy Jeff ft Baby Paul and Pauly Yamz - Da Ntro

Jeff Townes AKA: Jazzy Jeff resurfaces sans Will Smith in 2002 with his album The Magnificent. This connection here is "In and out of town, overseas on a three-day-loop fly around in a plane playing "EA Hoops" and 2K live." Personally, they weren't my games but they were pretty hot in their prime.

Taking it to the next level...

Now the difference between these tracks and the ones we previously mentioned, are that the connection isn't about mentioning the game, it's making the game a part of the track itself. The next set of songs take the connection to the next level.

Bone Thugs In Harmony - Eternal / Crossroad

Why am i combining these two songs into one post? Well the answer is pretty easy. Both songs sample music from the same game, which is Eternal Champions. If you believe Wikipedia Eternal Champions music was also used in the cartoon Courage the cowardly dog. If this is true then it proves that it was a popular soundtrack to a game only a handful of people played.

Cocoa Brovaz - Super Brooklyn

Cocoa Brovaz aka Smiff n' Wessun released this single which sampled the iconic Koji Kondo melodies from Super Mario Bros. Of course as we all know Nintendo doesn't play that game, and due to this the track stayed an underground hit.

For added lulz here's a bonus: listen to Super Brooklyn while looking at this.

Tonedeff - Round em up

I didn't hear this song until I came across an article by Quibian Salazar-Moreno which happened to be about the same thing I'm writing about now. According to the article Tonedeff disowns this song, and says that it doesn't represent his true skill. I have to admit even with the Kid Icarus music it's still a heavyweight of lyricism. Definitely worth checking out.

Eminem, Jblack, Masta Ace - Hellbound

Another one i found through Moreno's article. Not only is this vintage Eminem, this is a great use of a Soul Calibur sample. I'm definitely going to have to download this track and start actively looking for eminem's older stuff.

lil flip - Game Over

It's funny how things turn out. 2002 is not only the year I met my wife, it's the year I discovered Houston musical staples: Swishahouse and Lil Flip. Game over is the first single from his 2003 album "U Gotta Feel me" Which got massive airplay right around the time I was working at Gamestop. If I have to explain where the beat came from then you might want to go to gamer reeducation.

Del the funky Homosapien feat. Khaos Unique - Protoculture

This song is basically a love letter to video games, and Hearing Morrigan's victory theme from Darkstalkers for the beat.. My god. Did i just hear him say he wanted to get a Neo Geo so he can play Samurai showdown 64? And mentioning Xenogears, and Megaman Legends.... yeah. these guys know their stuff. Don't think so? well see what Del has to say about his favorite games

There are many more tracks I can throw out as examples, but maybe that's best suited for a future revisitation. There's one last song that I want to play, but it has nothing to do with video games other than a representation of my love of video games. You guys have a fantastic weekend.

Next time: Hip Hop in games

Source(s): Examiner / Youtube

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