Have you heard of rap music? It’s the hottest thing out there these days. Producers have been sticking rap songs into movies since they realized the music genre was all the rage with their grand kids. And video games have followed the lead of movies like Men In Black, Space Jam and Leprechaun In The Hood by shoving hip hop into the gaming world.
That doesn’t mean the songs aren’t dope or funky fresh, though. Sure, they may lack the grit and realness of the streets that drove rap artists to bring their music to the masses. But the raps we find in video games have their own ridiculous charm. Here are some rap songs from video games that are so corny that they’re hard not to love.
6. THE DK RAP
‘Donkey Kong 64’
The DK Rap in the intro to Donkey Kong 64 may be the most famous rap in video games, and it may also be one of the silliest. It basically just describes each member of the Kong crew that you’ll be able to control in the game, as well as listing their specific abilities, all set to simple rhymes that are easy to jam along with.
At the time this game came out, it was a big deal. This rap was pretty much the first thing most gamers witnessed with the N64’s newly enhanced graphics, which just made it more memorable. Not to mention, it’s just a catchy tune that gets stuck in your head all day. Plus it ends with a list of fruits that includes “pineapple smells.” I love me some pineapple smells.
5. THE FUGITIVE HUNTER RAP
Rap is offensive. That’s what a lot of people believe. And they’d be right if they were referring to the Fugitive Hunter rap song that accompanied the video game, though it probably wasn’t nearly as offensive as the game itself.
Fugitive Hunter was a response to the events of 9/11, so right off the bat you know nothing good could have come of it. You play as a secret operative hunting down terrorists on behalf of the United States, which culminates in a literal fist fight with Osama Bin Laden, whom you end up booting into a helicopter. And the game is even worse than it sounds. The lyrics to the rap are overtly racist and insanely alarmist, but very much reflect the times and let gamers take out their frustrations on America’s worst enemies. Who didn’t want to shove a knee into Bin Laden’s face?
4. KICK! PUNCH!
‘Parappa The Rapper’
Parappa The Rapper follows the story of a young dawg who’s just trying to change his life for the better through the positive influence of hip hop. Each level has the player pushing buttons in time with the rhythm of a rap song. The most memorable of these songs is probably the first level in the game, which has the pup taking hip hop martial arts lessons from an anthropomorphic onion.
Don’t get hung up on that, as the game only gets weirder from there. The vegetable-based master gives instructions to kick, punch, chop, turn, duck, pose, and block to become a great fighter or rapper or something. The song stands out in players’ memories because it’s the first level that teaches the basic mechanics of the game. As a kid, I failed this level right away over and over again, so by the time I was able to get past it, I could easily repeat the lyrics by heart. “Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind…” And indeed this song did kick and punch its way into my mind forever. But with a really fun beat and cool karate lessons, it was far less annoying and more lovable than you’d expect.
‘Slam City with Scottie Pippen’
Remember when Scottie Pippen was both the greatest basketball player and rapper of all time? You don’t? That’s because neither one of those things ever came to be. Pippen was always Michael Jordan’s number two, and his rap career was limited pretty much to the intro of an obscure video game on an obscure system.
Slam City with Scottie Pippen featured terrible game play with live action cut scenes that ultimately led to a one-on-one basketball showdown with Pippen himself. And he rapped the intro to the game in a song called “Respect,” which was appropriate as the object of the game was to earn enough respect on the streets to go against Scottie. With lyrics like “on the court I be dunkin’ like donuts,” it became clear early on that Pippen should stick to the hoops. Still, much like the entire game, it’s amazingly cheesy and totally enjoyable in an ironic way.
2. ROGUE WARRIOR CREDITS SONG
Everything about the Rogue Warrior credits song is offensive. Right off the bat, Mickey Rourke’s lyrics are, “You morons will love this. Hope you assholes like fireworks.” Why so aggressive to the audience?
The rest is a barely comprehensible mash of rhyming cusses with no meter or rhythm. But it’s so terrible, so pointless and self-congratulatory, that you can’t help but laugh. At one point, Rourke asks, “What the fuck was I doing again?” Then continues rapping. I like to think that this was a genuine moment of confusion on his part, and that he and the rest of the people involved in this game gave so little of a shit that they just went with it.
1. YOU ARE DEAD
There are few things more insulting after a death in a video game than a taunting rap that reminds you how dead you are. And that’s the entire point of the half-rapped, half-sung death song that accompanies the kill screen that pops up when you bite it in Total Distortion.
It’s mostly just a repetition of how “your heart has stopped and your brain is cold, you are so dead and now your body is starting to mold.” You know, the symptoms of death. The relentless chorus of “You are dead,” is maddening. But at least it’s a comical end to a video game life that doesn’t take itself so seriously. At the end of the day, who cares if you die in the video game world? Just hit reset, and you’re back in action. I can only hope that when my days on the real earth are ended, I’m greeted with a hilarious rap song that confirms how dead I am and how my corpse will turn to dust. That’s my idea of heaven.
Mike Clark is a Chicago-based writer and video game/comedy/dog enthusiast. He will defend to the death the idea that blowing in a Nintendo 64 cartridge will make it work better despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Tweet your best hate @MikeClarKent.
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