Notable Video Games in the Rap Game
You could make the argument that rap is more popular than its ever been. It’s dominating the sales charts and has come to define pop music as we know it. Even though the genre is more pervasive than ever, it’s surprising that we don’t see the same kind of multimedia saturation it enjoyed during the ’90s and 2000s. It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since Def Jam: Rapstar, and since then video games for the rap game have been few and far between. Still, there have been a few games worth mentioning over the years. Here are a few of the rap video games worth tracking down and one that hints at the future.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
This 3D arena fighter pit all the killer bees against each other and is the only game where you can actually fight with four different members of the group at the same time. Ol’ Dirty Bastard could go head to head against GZA, RZA, and Method Man all at once. With Mortal Kombat-style finishing moves, you could put the team to the test and see who was really the master of Shaolin. The game got mixed reviews when it came out, but its four-way fighting was innovative for its time.
50 Cent: Blood On The Sand
Blood On The Sand might be one of the most underrated games ever. This is a sequel to the 2005 game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, and somehow manages to be even more over the top and insane than the original. Fif’ and the rest of G-Unit go to the Middle East to play a concert and embark on a warpath after they’re ripped off by terrorists. You can control 50, Lloyd Banks, or Tony Yayo as you blast your way through waves of enemies on your way to your money. Blood on the Sand actually received pretty positive reviews and is highly regarded for its fun gunplay and excellent co-op mode.
Def Jam: Fight For New York
You could make a good case that Def Jam: Fight For New York is the best rap game ever made. Fight For NY takes the wrestling mechanics from Def Jam: Vendetta and expands them into a slick action brawler with a variety of fighting styles and weapons. The game featured an incredible lineup of playable stars including Method Man, Redman, Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Ice-T, DMX, Busta Rhymes and many more. The late Prodigy even make an appearance alongside Havoc. Fight For New York improved on its predecessor in every way and remains one of the greatest hip-hop games of all time. If Jay-Z and Def Jam decided to remake this, we wouldn’t be mad about it (though we’re not holding our breath).
The most recent rap video game hardly deals with hip-hop at all. In fact, it’s marketed through pushing parodies and stereotypes that hardly do the genre justice. An online slot reel called “Pimped” features all the trappings of every caricature you’ve ever thought of, complete with bikini-clad ladies and what’s called a Snoop Dogg-esque character running the show. It’s a shame because these casual casino games have been a big way for a lot of rock bands to connect with fans, and could be our best shot at seeing a new rap game in the future. We could easily see a good rap slot, though we hope it’ll deal with the music a little more.
Def Jam: RapStar
Def Jam Rapstar was the closest we ever came to seeing a Rock Band-style video game the genre deserves. The 2010 title featured an incredible playlist of songs with classics like 2pac’s “I Get Around” and Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy” next to more modern hits like Young Jeezy’s “Put On” and Lil Wayne’s “A Milli.” It’s the perfect game for anyone who ever spent their nights in their bedroom shouting out their favorite lyrics, and still remains an awesome party game today.