How Hip Hop’s Influence Extends Through Gaming

Credit – Pexels

Hip hop is one of the most influential music genres on the planet, spreading its tentacles into fashion, films, gaming and other areas of common culture.

Few attendees of the late seventies block parties which saw the style emerge could have foreseen the impact it would have on future generations. From early artists such as Grandmaster Flash and The Sugarhill Gang, through the Beastie Boys and on to Nicky Minaj and Drake, hip hop artists have become beacons of fashion and culture for millions of youths the world over.

Spinditty goes as far as to suggest hip hop is about more than just music, in that it hands a voice to marginalized populations and has heavily changed the course of American common culture. Gaming is one industry that has been heavily influenced by hip hop, from early days right up to the present day.

Game developers must create worlds, scenarios and backdrops that ape real life, but in order to do so, they need to draw on imagery and sound. Hip hop has plenty of typical images it conjures up, from graffiti walls to a particular fashion, which makes for perfect gaming settings. From early games such as Parappa the Rapper and Rap Jam One, hip hop has influenced gaming.

Hip hop stars have often appeared in games too and it seems in the early years of popular gaming, dropping in a big name helped move units. In NBA Street 2, players were able to take control of hip hop star Nelly. The graphics might not be as advanced as they are today, but it was a classic example of hip hop being used to market games. By the time we reached NBA 2K10, Slim Thug, Kanye and even Pitbull were featured as playable characters.

Perhaps the best-known game with deep hip hop influences is Grand Theft Auto V. It’s based in the city of Los Santos, made famous by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game steeped in hip hop culture and soundtrack, and it has spawned several spins off and clones which have tried to lean on the same themes. True Crime: Streets of LA saw Snoop Dogg make an appearance whilst the Saints Row series boasted an impressive soundtrack and hip hop themes. Even away from consoles, hip hop offers a great backdrop for games. Foxy Games features hip-hop-inspired slot titles, including ‘Gangsta City Slot,’ and ‘DJ Wild’ which demonstrate how the genre has influenced digital entertainment. These titles borrow from elements of hip hop culture, with titles on home consoles doing the same. With such recognizable tunes as well as styling, hip hop ties in beautifully with gaming.

More recently, hip hop seems to have influenced eSports, not least with the rise of Fortnite’s Battle Royale. Drake and Travis Scott recently joined popular streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins for a round, raising headlines in the process, whilst Lil Pump, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Trippie Redd have all dabbled in the game.

It isn’t necessarily the content that sees the influence, with eSport players often taking on the fashion of hip hop stars. As the eSports world develops and more hip hop stars realize the commercial value of exposure via popular streams, the genre will continue to heavily influence and help shape the gaming world.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy our chat with hip hop star J F L E.