Top 10 Hip Hop Video Games

If you went scratching through the bargain bins of your local record/gaming outlet, chances are good that you’ll come across a few of the titles listed below. Most fell prey to obscurity or lack of appeal while others prospered in a short-lived hip hop gaming boom, even though hip hop and gaming aren’t exactly synonymous. Below is a list of Hits and Misses in this much divided gaming pool…

Redbull BC One 2008 As if the boys and girls over at Redbull hadn’t already established a corner on the energy drink/liquor market, they’re now trying to throw their weight on the gaming industry. And well, as much as their initiative and desire to break new ground deserves mention, the gaming market has already seen its share of b’boy related titles. What need is there then for another, especially when the well-established developers are leaps and bounds ahead of the pack in this genre of gaming.

50Cent Bulletproof Can you believe 50Cent actually claimed that this game was educational — hoping kids would realise the dangers of gang culture and ultimately avoid it. The premise; you go about seeking vengeance for an attempt on your life (main character in the game is 50). What was he thinking? At least the developers of the game got creative enough to write people like Eminem and Dr. Dre into the game. Unfortunately it comes across as shallow and somewhat contradictory.

Def Jam Series Get ready to rumble with some of the biggest names in rap going toe-to-toe in pursuit of greatness. Featuring the full roster of Def Jam artists and a tightly arranged soundtrack these games might actually create a viable means for the real-life rappers to settle any beef they might have with each other, or not. The series evolves through the three titles but the basic idea remains the same; work your way up the ranks as an underground fighter, earn money and respect and the world will be yours (as will all the women). Sounds fair enough.

Wu Tang: Shaolin StyleBand in-fighting has never been this much fun. Simply take it out to the back lot and iron out you differences. What’s more, is fans of the Wu can now roll as their favourite group member in a classic arcade style fighter — branding genius or what? Whilst the game sounds interesting, even challenging on paper, one has to wonder why they opted to pursue the gaming route. Word is, some fans have bought into this game simply to own the CD player ready soundtrack — again, marketing genius and little else unfortunately.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Another video game title based on revenge, this time San Andreas main character, CJ has to stoop to the lowest of low to avenge the death of his mother — a noble cause at best but why is gansterism and violence the only solution available — does it not spread the root of the problem even further? Then again, if CJ wasn’t shooting the shit out of people or handing out beat downs on every street corner, the game would probably suck and no one would buy into it. Sad but true!

NBA Ballers Going from rags to riches seems like a common thread in the games featured here. This time Ballers is a game within the game and you get to work your way up through the ranks of NBA stardom. If you’ve got what it takes, becoming the ‘Choosen One’ might never have been so easy, you probably won’t even need to leave your moms living room. Ballers will have you reach epic levels of greatness in no time, and think of the riches and all those honey’s too. It looks so simple; Lebron’s gonna be pissed!!

Get on Da MicHoller at me, pop pop, what?! You and the crew are gonna wanna lift the roof off of big Mama’s house with this karaoke style game. Before Rockband there was Get on Da Mic, only thing is, where is it today? The market is definitely big enough to sustain a title like this, so what went wrong, no sequel, nothing. This could surely have been the biggest seller in Hip-Hop themed gaming… think of all the fun that could be had banging away to your favourite rap joint. The poor neighbours won’t know what hit them, but sorry to say, this one is lost amongst all the others in the deadpool.

Mark Eckos Getting Up: Under PressureGraffiti gaming is a strange concept, but by all accounts Under Pressure is as accurate as possible — whatever that means — because a lot of time is spent handing out beat downs and running from the cops. Surely not what real graf writers out there are doing but hey, negative stereotyping is a part of today’s society so suck it up. At least you’ll be able to feel the thrill of being in the game, however misleading the portrayal of the game may be in Under Pressure… at least you’re having a good time and that’s all gaming is about — Fun!!

Jet Grind Radio/ Jet Set Future Radio All the elements of hip-hop thrown into one package! Rollerblading (not so cool but what you gonna do) around your city, throwing up old-skool gang tags, laying claim to your turf and avoiding rival gangs. Unfortunately that’s about as deep as this title goes. Surprising then that the game actually won a Best Game award in 2000/01…

Parappa the Rapper Ah sweet, a little doggie rapping for his sweetheart — at least he’s trying to win her over instead of straight-up macking on her — we could all take a lesson from Parappa. And who said nice guys finish last, show some respect and dignity and you may well take home first. Graphics aside, Parappa was a game way beyond its time back in the day and seems to have made a comeback in more recent times. Reunion trends clearly filter into the gaming world too…

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