DAR Games: 9 Hip Hop Related Video Games

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Hip Hop is the focal point for many forms of various entertainment. Whether in film, television, or of course music, the culture has been beneficial through many different avenues, but one avenue that many forget that hip hop influenced was video games. Since the inception, there have been many games that utilized hip hop as a selling point, whether or not they were quality games is an entirely different story. Today, we take a look at 9 Hip Hop related games.
Missing from this list are games like Midnight Club, True Crime, and more that featured some hip hop elements and characters, but weren't entirely central to it. With that aside, let's take a look at these 9 Hip Hop related games.

*50 Cent: Bulletproof (2005)

-During the heyday of G-Unit, 50 Cent had his hands in every industry. Whether it was vitamin water, clothing, or video games, 50 was one of the first artists to really have their own game. His game was different than the usual hip hop game, as it didn't feature rapping, karaoke, or even a storyline centered around that. No, this particular game was centered around violence and 50 doing what he needed to do to complete a mission to get revenge on those who set him up to be shot. Backed by a dope soundtrack, 50 Cent: Bulletproof wasn't the best game by any stretch, but it was surprisingly fun to play and despite some lagging gameplay, it had some funny moments. The dialogue was campy, the violence was plentiful, and it's not every day you get to play as one of your favorite rappers, so for that reason, 50 Cent: Bulletproof was mildly enjoyable.

*Def Jam Rapstar (2010)

-This was a decent idea in essence. It was hip hop karaoke essentially, and it was interesting if that was your sort of thing. While I wasn't a big hip hop karaoke fan, I gave this game a try to see what would come of it. Whether on party or career mode, you'll likely have a lot of fun with rapping these popular and classic hip hop songs. With songs from artists like LL Cool J,  Outkast, Run DMC, Drake, Jim Jones, Nas, Snoop Dogg, and more, Def Jam Rapstar basically took a lot of people's favorite activity in the car and turned into a game. The result is simple mindless fun for hip hop karaoke, but if you were looking for anything intricate, this isn't the game for you by far.

*Rap Jam: Volume One (1995)

-Two things: first, Motown Games was a real thing. Two, I owned this game as a kid, shortly before I decided to get a PlayStation and make the change. This was a groundbreaking game as the players and characters were all hip hop artists playing a street style of basketball and going at each other on the court. There weren't any foul calls and this was aggressive street basketball with that hip hop twist, and it all flowed very well. You could play as Coolio, Onyx, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Warren G, and more, making this a game that have some artists their first real taste of the video games life. While not a classic, this was a truly fun game to play.

*Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (1999)

-I slept on this game at the time of release and when it finally came to my attention, I was pissed I had took so long to really became aware of it. This game was one of the special ones, garnering acclaim for the gameplay and the way it all flowed. The game allowed you to have four players fighting at the same time, which was groundbreaking at the moment and an added element to the game overall. Playing as members of the Wu, you get to fight with ODB, RZA, etc and if you've ever wondered what it was like to have combat as a member of the Wu, this gave you the opportunity. It's actually one of the more underrated games on this list, and probably the best in actual quality.

*Def Jam Vendetta (2003)

-This game changed so much for me. I was always a fan of wrestling and combat games, but I hadn't seen a game that effectively combined both hip hop and combat (aside from the Wu-Tang game) Until this. This game is one of the best, mostly due to the mechanics and gameplay, which included brutal moves and counters and allowed you to kick the ass of a rapper you might not have been too fond of. It also allowed you to play as one of your favorite rappers, as names like DMX, Redman, Method Man, Scarface, and Ludacris were all featured. It was a game that provided the fun of Street Fighter and Tekken for the hip hop crowd, and Def Jam Vendetta was a game changer.

*DJ Hero (2009)

-This was essentially the hip hop culture version of Guitar Hero. First things first, being able to actually DJ is a tough task and requires talent. That's one. Secondly, this game didn't have enough emphasis on hip hop to really make it special, and as a result, the entire thing fell flat. The art of DJing came from hip hop and the culture, so I felt like it should have been a completely hip hop soundtrack, but for what it is worth, they included a lot of surprising tracks. 2Pac's "All Eyez On Me", Jay-Z's "Change Clothes", "Disco Inferno" by 50 Cent, and some others were all shocking to see on the soundtrack, and they were a bright spot. The experience was fun to use the "turntables", but in my opinion, this was better off as an idea and not something that should have been executed in reality. Still, this was fun to many and a hit with certain demographics.

*Def Jam: Fight For NY (2004)

-How do you expand on a game that many see as a classic? Adding more characters and harder mechanics and more outrageous elements. Essentially, Fight For NY was just an expansion of the original, with added fighting styles and more usage of the environment to inflict damage on your opponent. The characters in this game make the experience fun, but the story mode is hilarious, as it was on the first edition. The story isn't the central focus of this game for me, it's the combat and the enjoyment of using your favorite rappers to fight and with an expanded roster that includes Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg, and more, Def Jam: Fight For NY didn't disappoint.

*50 Cent: Blood On The Sand (2009)

-As much as I tried to avoid this game, and I really tried, I just couldn't. It was a guilty pleasure, full of ridiculous over the top moments and a hilarious premise. The sequel to Bulletproof, this game was one of those games that really catches you off guard with how addictive it can be. Based around a discrepancy had by 50 Cent over a non payment for a show in the Middle East, bullets fly, Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks assist, and the gameplay actually plays out pretty well. Compared to more known shooters, this game is NOT great, but when you take it for what it is, it's a fun and mindless game that allows you to shoot up shit as the G-Unit head honcho once again. I would actually say this game is a bit better than Bulletproof, not that this says much.

*Def Jam: Icon (2007)

-The cover is hilarious. It's a ripoff of a Jay-Z picture from 2006, but the cover isn't actually Jay. There must have been some issues there with including him in the game and the cover. Still, the final game in the Def Jam combat series is interesting. It was less wrestling based, and more hand to hand combat, with brutal strikes and punches and interesting environments. Have you ever wanted to fight on the 106 and Park stage? You have the chance to do so on this game. For better or worse. There were some new characters included as well, including The Game, Jim Jones, Young Jeezy, T.I., and Big Boi of Outkast, all of whom were fun to play as and they brought some excitement with their addition to the game. All in all, Def Jam Icon is the weakest of the series, but it's still an enjoyable game to play, just like most to the games on this list.



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