24th May 2020

Hip-Hop has been a feature in many video games, however some games stand out more than others. You could argue that the soundtrack is what makes some of these games stand out.

In this article, I’ll be looking at some of the games I grew up on that featured such memorable Hip-Hop music in their soundtracks.

In no particular order;

Def Jam Fight for NY obviously had to make this list. A video game produced by a Hip-Hop record label… It’s almost a no brainer.

This game is great, one of the best fighting games to drop, as violent as violent gets.
Listening to your favourite Def Jam artists tear up the mic as you tore off heads was second nature.

It featured the likes of Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Redman and many more as playable characters.

You weren’t going to question whether Rockstar Games would make this list?
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is arguably the best game to drop in unanimously the best ever game series to be released.

But this soundtrack is second to none, set in a fictional California of 1992, the game did everything to capture this era, especially in the Radio Los Santos soundtrack playing strictly music from LA, Oakland and Vegas you really felt like a Blood or Crip performing drive-by’s to this immaculate soundtrack.

The NBA is a sport dominated by African Americans, therefore the music of this sport is dominated by African Americans.
But when EA sports BIG planned to do something a little different from NBA Live, it was an instant hit.

NBA Street is over the top street basketball on steroids and the soundtrack had to match this notion, and it did well.
Performing crazy dunks with a crazy in-game DJ that’d mix classic Hip-Hop as you ball out was forever great.

Yet again Rockstar games leaning into the significance of music. Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition was a street racing game based in 2005 Atlanta, Detroit and San Diego.

Rockstar being Rockstar left you the freedom to explore the open world within your car but there was nothing like racing through the city in real life models whilst listening to the extensive soundtrack the game boasted.

Those Tony Hawk video games is a staple in gaming history.
But none are as nostalgic as Pro Skater 4 was for me, within the vibe of skating culture, the soundtrack heavily featured Rock and Heavy-Metal, but some Hip-Hop had to make the cut and the tracks they chose were great.

A selection of good Alternate Hip-Hop and lofi Hip-Hop would play whilst you shred in different creative spots. Definitely on for the history books.

Okay, I know Rockstar Games and EA Sports are dominating this list, but it’d be a crime not to include GTA V in this.
This game is the most innovative with soundtracks I’ve ever experienced.

Set in a 2013 fictional California, by this time, Hip-Hop had become the most popular music genre of all time.
So they had a variety of Hip-Hop over 3 various in-game radio stations. But as time progressed, with updates, the game did everything to keep up with the culture adding new in-game stations such as Frank Ocean’s Blonded (hosted by Frank Ocean) or iFruit Radio (hosted by Danny Brown); a fictional replica of Beats 1 on Apple Music.

Rockstar were able to keep the music on their game contemporary and up to date by updating and adding new music as it released and are presently updating from 2013 – now!

2k Sports’ NBA series has featured some of the best Hip-Hop soundtracks in recent time, but a standout year was last years NBA 2k19.
2k Sports called in Travi$ Scott to curate their soundtrack for that year and a good job he did.

2k19 was a standout because Travi$ was able to balance out the soundtrack well within Hip-Hop, from Boom Bap to Trap to Lo-fi to Alternate. You can tell he’s well versed in the genre.

Last but not least, Saints Row: The Third.
Often dubbed a ” a poor man’s GTA” Saint’s Row sought to craft their own lane in gaming, therefore The Third was the introduction to over the top wackiness.

Where GTA sought to be realistic, Saints Row sought to be unrealistic and The Third captured it well. As fun as ever, the soundtrack matched the setting of the game as you worked your way up to the top with your gang members

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