History Of Hip-Hop And Video Games


Through the years music and SFX have driven the experience of a game to new levels. Starting off with 8-Bit, chiptune music (Super Mario, Sonic, any video game pre-90s ever). These were the times when the gaming industry was still young and thriving on existing technologies to run.

With the boom of the gaming industry and technology, there came a lot more additions to the general premise of the game. And throughout all this, the audio was one crucial element that stood out from the rest. Some popular game tunes have stuck throughout time and generations.

With Hip-Hop being a larger than life culture, it has dived into all sorts of industries ranging from clothing/fashion, skateboarding, music technologies, sports, and even gaming.

History Of Hip-Hop And Video Games

Mass appeal and photorealistic games brought these two worlds together. Wiz Khalifa featured in the background score for the iconic Mortal Kombat X, Run The Jewels recently released their new music video based on Fifa 18 gameplay. There were some games though, that took Hip-Hop from being beyond just a sound track and made the characters or setting of Hip-Hop the forefront of the game.  This is a list of such games.

Enjoy gamers!

1) GTA San Andreas

Firstly, lets get this out the way – GTA San Andreas is one of the greatest games of all time. It redefined what the franchise could do and set a benchmark in every category. Be it the amazing storyline, the gameplay, the graphics or anything else you could pick and choose from, the GTA series (especially San Andreas) stood out from everything else.

History Of Hip-Hop And Video Games

The game is set in fictional towns within San Andreas, California. This was the first game on the franchise to incorporate the whole 9 yards of a Hip-Hop lifestyle. It outlined the stories from the hood and what it means to be a person of African American descent in America.

There are some very peculiar resemblances within the game. The character of “Ryder” bears a striking resemblance to rapper Eazy-E. And also to add on to that is the fact that this character is voiced by MC Eiht.

History Of Hip-Hop And Video Games

Not just that, even multi-platinum recording artist from Compton – The Game – shows up as a cameo character “B Dup” on some of the initial missions in GTA – SA.


There is just so much more to the game that involves Hip-Hop. For example, a supporting character in the game is an emcee named OG Loc. There are a few missions surrounding this character too. All in all, this game is a must play for every Hip-Hop head.

2) Beaterator (PSP)

Sony’s PlayStation have been the innovators and been on the frontlines of the gaming industry since inception. The PlayStation Portable is a portable gaming device that let gamers play according to their convenience.

Music producer and Hip-Hop Icon Timbaland took control of this opportunity and released his own game called “Beaterator”. This game was a collaboration between Rockstar Games (same people who build the Grand Theft Auto series) and Timbaland.


As a one of a kind music production game, Timbaland took the learning curve of a producer and added a gaming element to it. People have created some amazing tunes with this game. The sound packs within the game also include handmade, original and signature Timbaland sounds to go with it.

Gamers were able to create beats of different genres by using this game too. The game has it’s own pull and even let the users tweak, mix/master and synthesize their sounds. It was a standalone DAW game brought to life by Timbaland. Watch this trailer below featuring all your favorite rappers and producers and let us know what you felt.


3) Def Jam – Fight for NY

In a nutshell, developers EA took Hip-Hop icons and pitted them against each other in gruelling fights. Yeah, that happened! Def Jam – Fight For NY is a sequel to Def Jam – Vendetta. And follows the protagonist character “The Hero” into an intense, gritty storyline within the city of New York.

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This is also a one of a kind fighting game which adopts Hip-Hop supremely well. Character customisations feature clothing lines widely connected to the music makers. This game has also won several awards including the MTV VMA for Best Video Game Soundtrack.

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Def Jam – Fight For NY features rappers Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, Lil Kim, Redman, Method Man, Bboy Crazy Legs, Busta Rhymes, Flava Flav, Ludacris, Xzibit, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe and Prodigy. It is a critically acclaimed game featuring all your favourite rappers. What’s not to like?

4) Kanye West – Only One

The loss of a mother is heavy on the heart and the mind of any man/woman. Kanye West is just another man affected by the depression of the loss of his mother. He had been known to have a very close relationship with her and was deeply affected after her loss.

In February 2015, Kanye West announced to the world that he would be making a video game based on his mother. The concept of the iPhone game was that his mother would be traveling through the gates of heaven. This game is still under process and in the development stage so any news of a release date remains uncertain.


In E3 2016, Kanye West revealed a trailer of the game to the world and it looked stunning. Developers Encyclopedia Pictura seem to be adding vibrant sounds that are curated by Mr. West with stunning visuals as usual. Also, the game is named after the song “Only One” by Kanye West dedicated to his mother Donda West.

Developers have said that there is no concept of death in the game and that it is more of a collection game which sees the user (playing as Donda West) ascending to heaven dodging obstacles. We hope the game lives up to the efforts put into it and may Kanye West also drop many more jewels on and off-stage with his creativity and talents.



5) 50 Cent – Bulletproof

50 Cent Bulletproof is the first of a two-part series of games. The story follows 50 Cent as he recruits the G Unit and follows the storyline throughout the city of New York.

In fact, the story sees 50 being pulled back into the underworld. It goes on to him taking on the most feared and dangerous organized crime gangs in New York. The story also leads to him discovering an international conspiracy which could cause mass hysteria and devastation. The plot follows 50 along with his gang G-Unit.


The game also features appearances by Eminem (as Detective McVicar) and Dr. Dre (as a warning veteran named Grizz). The sequel to this game even received some great feedback and was a better game than the first. However, this was the game that started it all.

6) DJ Hero (PS3/Xbox 360)

DJ Hero is the Hip-Hop counterpart to Guitar Hero. The use of turntables have been extensively explained and processed throughout the game. It is a one of a kind game that puts you on the deck and it places the importance of sampling and mixing 2 samples to create new sounds.

As a matter of fact, the game has over a hundred songs to choose from in it’s library. The mixes in the game were made in Ableton Live by DJ Blakey who was the DMC World DJ Champion at the time.


This game soared through the roof with it’s popularity and reception. It was a highly addictive experience and gamers all around the world had the best fun with the gameplay. DJ Hero was launched for the PS3 and XBox 360 and revamped the face of the ‘hero’ franchise. Moreover, it took a bold step forward and the results were fascinating. It was one of the most anticipated games of the year in 2009 and certainly lived up to the mark.

7) Wu-Tang – Shaolin Style

This is a lesser known fighting game that revolved around the legendary Wu Tang Clan. The gameplay sees the players fighting their way through the 36 Chambers in the story mode as well as exhibition modes. A thrilling game which was also well received by critics in the game industry. Furthermore, it pays homage to the Wu Tang fighting style.

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All in all, if you’re an avid fan of video games, these sure are some must-check titles for you. Finally, enjoy the games with hip-hop music guiding you throughout your journey!