Scope dis: Videogames and hip hop “came up” together. Both art forms hail from the late '70s. Both struggled for mainstream acceptance throughout the '80s. Both achieved success in the '90s, to finally become the staple of pop culture we now enjoy every day. Given their synchronistic upbringing it’s no surprise that we’ve seen more than a little overlap.
Above: From the beginning, a genuine understanding of hip hop culture
But very recently we’ve stumbled upon an important milestone. It’s our exquisite pleasure to announce that we’ve finally found the most synergistic relationship ever between games and rap music. A game starring a three time Source Award winning artist, featuring 18 exclusive tracks... Ladies and Gentlemen, of course we’re talking about 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand! Get up here and take a bow, Fiddy!
Above: You’ve earned it Fiddy!
Although, we should acknowledge he stands on the shoulder of giants! More than a few of our favorite games have prayed at the altar of rhyme, usually with frightening results. So, puff out those chests and get ready to strut through GamesRadar’s mighty menagerie of raptacular gaming moments.
Game: Call of Duty 4
Song: “Deep and Hard”
Behind the Jam: If you “survived” long enough in Call of Duty 4 to see it to the end, you’re probably aware of the somber rhyme that accompanies the credits scrawl dropping shout-outs to Call of Duty 2 and developer Infinity Ward.
Above: Photo from MTV.com
But what you may not know is the song is actually performed by an in-game character, Staff Sergeant Griggs (voiced by CoD 4 lead animator, Mark Grigsby), and contains samples from an E3 press conference as well as the game’s military advisor.
Standout line: The third installment, Infinity Ward shit / Don’t soil your drawers, cause it’s deep in his heart, bitch
Behind the Jam: Following the release of Goldeneye and Banjo-Kazooie, there was little doubt in anyone’s mind whether or not Rare could crank out a sturdy platformer in 1999. What many doubted was the inclusion of proper music due to the limitations of the N64 game cart.
Above: Damn, the science is too tight!
With a little help from MC Expansion Pak, Rare defied the odds right from the introductory cut scene of Donkey Kong 64 with the song we all love to hate: The DK Monkey Rap! One James W. Norwood Jr. is credited with the lyrics, which in spite being in a constant war with the melody and rhyme, still made it into a Smash Bros Melee remix.
Standout lyric: His coconut gun can fire in spurts / If he shoots ya, it’s gon-na hurt.
Behind the Jam: Perhaps you know this former linebacker and prominent member of Alpha Squad as Cole Train? Assuming you do, it won’t surprise that the man who curb stomps locusts and reloads weapons with all the exuberance of a game-delaying end zone dance has a song all his own, played over the end credits of the original Gears of War.
Rumors maintained that Gears of War 2 would bring us a long-awaited follow up. Perhaps “This is Also My Kind of Shit” or maybe “That is My Kind of Shit.” Sadly, we were denied our new track in the sequel’s credits, and instead given a cryptic, non-rap message from some guy named Adam Fenix, who quite rudely gives zero insight into what sort of shit he’s partial to.
Standout lyric: WHOO! Bring it on sucka / This my kinda shit! [Repeat 250 times]
Game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Behind the Jam: Jeffery “OG Loc” Cross once lived on Grove Street, that much is true, but his gangsta credentials have been called into question time and again. Any affiliation with the Grove Street Families has yet to be proven, his only jail time served was on account of joyriding and parking fines, and his previous job held was that of “hygiene technician” at a well known fast food chain.
Worse still, rumors persist that Mr. Loc only rose to prominence due to the theft of a rival MC’s equipment and rhyme journal carried out by an unnamed, and uncharacteristically subservient, individual whose weight is said to rapidly fluctuate from fat to thin, thus making him impossible to identify. We may never know the truth, but at least we have OG Loc’s sweet, sweet serenade. Just don’t call him “OgLock.”
Standout lyric: I’m the man in the place / Punch you in the face / A gun in my waist / It’s Loc, baby!
Show: The Super Mario Bros Super Show
Song: The Super Mario Bros Super Show Theme
Behind the Jam: With very little to go on, we’ve decided to credit Captain Lou Albano with the composition of all songs featured in this staple of syndication, including the horrendous covers clearly written by Kenny Loggins, Michael Jackson, and - Good Christ - The Beatles?!
Standout lyric: You'll meet koopas, the troopas, the princess, and the others / Hangin' with the plumbers, you'll be hooked on the brothers!
Behind the Jam: If you haven’t heard this there’s a good chance you’re American. “Supermarioland” is one of many Mario based raps that appear on the officially licensed album, Super Mario Compact Disco, concocted by the Ambassadors of Funk. Released only in Japan, the song still somehow made it over to Europe, where it managed to score a 9th place position on the UK Singles Chart in 1992.
Above: Hats with backward initials skyrocketed the album’s budget and set the production back months
All the songs based on different entries in the Mario series are surprisingly competent, albeit in an early '90s, Bell Biv Devoe, kind of way that predates widespread access to professional recording software. The downside is that each song goes on about 3 minutes too long and all AoF’s lyrics seem to have been written from four sentences worth of executive notes. You’ll be reminded that Mario is a plumber, saves the princess, and premiered in Donkey Kong several thousand times throughout the course of the disc.
Above: Back of the album, even if it looks like placeholder art
Unfortunately we can’t embed all the songs here and the album is looong out of print. BUT we’ll be playing more laughable tracks off of Super Mario Compact Disco in this week’s edition of GamesRadar’s amazing colossal podcast, TalkRadar 41!
Standout lyric: Even my ma thinks I'm crazy / But I've got to rescue Daisy