A list of games that spoke directly to the hip-hop generation.
5 Important Video Games to Hip-Hop Culture
Video games and hip-hop have went together like peanut butter and jelly since they started which in all honesty, makes perfect sense since they are both around the same age.
In my opinion, I think hip-hop really began to truly mesh in the mid 90’s and 2000’s stronger than any other decades. You could hear references like Notorious B.I.G’s “super nintendo, sega genesis” line and many more references become more and more common as the years went by and eventually, developing it’s own genre in hip-hop with the sound of nerdcore hip-hop. For those who don’t know, nerdcore is a style of hip-hop that involves video game and anime themes blended with 8 or 16 bit instrumentals (s/0 to Richie Branson good to see you winning, keep it up).
Video games helped to create nerdcore hip-hop and the 8 and 16 beat sound you hear from producers. I love video games. I always have and I always will. I’ll love video games whether I’m the best or the worst at ’em.
Video games, for so many people like me is an escape that in many ways had a lot in common with hip-hop that I immediately attached to like the rebelliousness and disdain from those who couldn’t understand anything about the cultures and how similar they are . This is my list of the 5 important video games that had an impact on hip-hop culture.
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5. PacMan/Mrs. PacMan
*Screen shot belongs to Pac Man *
We’ll start with a throwback. PacMan makes the list simply based on how often this game has been referenced in songs like Lil’ Flips Game Over and references from Wyclef to Beanie Sigel. This video game HAS to make the list based on it’s time, impact and influence alone.
4. Def Jam Icon
*Screen shot belong to Def Jam Icon*
Def Jam: Icon is important and makes the list because it was more than just a rap video game. It was important because it was a great great game with great replay value that shows up in the hottest era of hip-hop! You have artist like Ludacris, Ghostface Killah, Method Man. This video game simply came at the right time. Who would you like to see if they made a new game like this?
3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
*Screen shot belongs to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto San Andreas*
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was a legendary video game, it told a great story and truly had you invest into each major character of the story. One of the biggest things Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas truly deserved praise for is the soundtrack/radio. There were so many great hip-hop songs playing in whatever car you rode in. It allowed you to discover songs and artists you may have never heard about and you became a fan of newer ones. There’s no way to really say how important and pivotal this video game is to the culture of hip-hop. You wanted to cheer for CJ from beginning to end…AND HE COULD SWIM!
2. NBA Jam
*Screen shot belongs to Midway and NBA Jam*
BOOMSHAKALAKA! This one phrase was the definition of 90’s hip-hop and no video game did it better than Midway’s NBA Jam. Catching on fire after making 3 shots, the dunks, the commentary. This game screamed hip-hop with every dribble and every dunk. Long live NBA Jam!
1. Mortal Kombat
*Screen shot belongs to Mortal Kombat*
Edgy, ground breaking and intense. Mortal Kombat was every parents worst nightmare during that time. This video game had everything from fireballs to fatalities and kept arcade lines long. Every rapper was colder than sub-zero and kickin’ rhymes like Liu Kang at one point or another. This game spoke to the edgier side the same way hip-hop did and I believe that in many ways, hip-hop culture had a lot to do with the success of the Mortal Kombat franchise.