Celebrating National Video Game Day Through Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop and video game culture may seemingly be in two separate worlds. However, over the last two decades saw integration of the two cultures. Below are 7 of the most impactful video games integrating hip-hop culture.

Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style – PlayStation – (2000)

Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style was released in 2000, with the 3D fighting style inspired by Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter featuring Wu-Tang Clan playable characters. The game was praised for its storytelling and innovative four-player matches but often criticized for the difficulties of its controls and poor graphics.

Def Jam Rapstar – Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii – (2010)

Def Jam Rapstar was a rap-themed karaoke game where players could rap to hits like Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice,” and Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”. The game used Xbox’s Kinect and PlayStation Eye Camera sensors to help the player master each rap song. The game features more than 30 artists, including Kanye West, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Outkast, Lil Wayne, Drake, Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan, Nelly, LL Cool J, Nas, and Run-D.M.C.


50 Cent: Bulletproof –  Playstation 2- 2005

50 Cent: Bulletproof lets you play as 50 Cent as he attempts to find the hit man who tried to kill him. The game features cameos from Dr. Dre, Eminem and G-Unit. With the G-Unit rap crew being a gang, Dr. Dre being an arms dealer, Eminem playing the role of a corrupt police officer, and DJ Whoo Kid plays himself as a person selling “bootlegged” music (of the G-Unit camp) out of his trunk. The game features the self-titled soundtrack Bulletproof under Shadyville Entertainment. It won “Best Original Song” in the 2005 Spike TV Video Game Awards.

DJ Hero- PS3/Xbox360/Wii – released 2009

As a counter movement to rocks Guitar Hero comes hip-hop’s DJ Hero, a game that allows players to perform  on a turntable-style controller that comes with the game.

The game features playable avatars of famous DJs and mix artists including DJ Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip, DJ Am, Grandmaster Flash and Daft Punk. The game would spawn positive reviews and go on to inspire two popular sequels. While this hip-hop and dance-focused rhythm game wasn’t quite as successful as the famous Guitar Hero, it did provide new experience using a turntable controller.

Getting Up – PS2/Xbox – 2006

Focusing on amateur graffiti, Marc Eckō’s Getting Up was an open-world video game that was set in the future involving graffiti artist’s countermovement towards the government’s oppression towards minorities. With the protagonist being voiced by hip hop artist Talib Kweli

Parappa the Rapper – PlayStation – 1996

One of the earliest and iconic hip-hop games was 1996’s Parappa The Rapper. The game involves following a cartoon cardboard dog on his journey to win the heart of a girl through the power of rap. Parappa would learn to master the art of rap from a series of teachers, and players would press a sequence of buttons on the control pads timing the sequence on screen.

The game is most remembered for its precise coordination and its annoying protagonist

Def Jam Fight for NY – PS2/Gamecube/Xbox – 2004

The game features Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Sticky Fingaz, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Redman, Ice-T, WC, Ludacris, Lil’ Kim, Bubba Sparxxx, Capone, David Banner, Elephant Man, Erick Sermon, Fam-Lay, Flavor Flav, Freeway, Ghostface Killah, Havoc, Joe Budden, Lil’ Flip, Mack 10, Memphis Bleek, Noreaga, Prodigy, Scarface, Sean Paul, Slick Rick, Warren G, and Xzibit. The theme of the game was to fight other hip hop artists and earn cash to buy more swag.  The fighting techniques showcased Street fighting,kickboxing,martial arts,wrestling and submissions.

If you Love retro video games and hip-hop make sure to check these titles.

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Howdy, I am Matthew. I write sometimes and I sit at The Lunch Table.

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