The 10 Greatest Rap Songs About Video Games
Charles Hamilton, "Where's My Fcking Genesis?"
"Am I going to take my morning piss, or go with my insatiable need to play Sonic the Hedgehog this morning?" ponders Charles Hamilton, a rapper also fond of calling himself Sonic the Hamilton and insisting that the gameplay and plot of that classic Sega series can be interpreted as a philosophy for life. Asked about people making fun of his religious take on Sega's blue mascot back in 2008, he said, "I feel that the disrespect that I get with all my philosophies is actually more hurtful than shit to brush off, because nobody disrespects a Jewish person." A Sega-themed comeback project with Del is a must.
Arkade Funk, "Tilt"
Opening with the declaration "I am an arcade funk machine," this early-'80s electro track is the sound of first-wave video games taking over the world. There's a blast of Ms. Pac-Man, a shuffling electro beat with go-go overtones, and a hideously scary voice demanding, "Tilt me!" It's a small mercy Diplo -- who incorporated the Gameboy version of Predator into his "Diplo Rhythm" track -- didn't persuade M.I.A. to chat over it back in their friendlier days. And then mix a Klymaxx song into it.
The Molemen feat. MF Doom, Aesop Rock & Slug, "Put Your Quarter Up"
If you're gonna feature one underground-rap song about video games, it might as well be one where the rappers seem to have strong nerd roots. Over production from Chicago's Molemen unit, Slug and Aesop Rock kick things off in a suitably game-referential manner. But it's Doom who geeks out best, bragging that he'll "take your high score down," weaving in references to Robotron, Defender, Pitfall, and 25-round games of Centipede, while even making a "pshhh" sound as he talks about Spy Hunter's car switching into a boat.
Percee P feat. Diamond D, "2 Brothers From The Gutter"
Percee P's rap career is usually remembered for one of two things: Grabbing a Hip-Hop Quotable in one-time hip-hop bible The Source for his verse on Lord Finesse's "Yes You May," and pester customers outside of Fat Beats' 6th Avenue store while hawking his homemade mix CDs. Here, on a track from his 2007 Stones Throw album Perseverance, he brags how "I never waste rhymes on wack basslines and break-beats." Appropriately, he's rapping over a Madlib production that simply loops the Contra start-screen music. (Also in the Stones Throw sample library: Oh No's Castlevania III-based "The Ride" and Madvillain's Street Fighter 2-sampling "Do Not Fire.")
Little Brother, "Atari 2600"
A seven-inch-only homage to the old Atari console, here North Carolina's finest rapping trio pretend that the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA has a sly sideline doing infomercials for console manufacturers. Over a chunky, soulful beat, a suitably mush-mouthed voice advises: "When you traveling down the roads of life, you've got to be careful not to get hit by no truck, you know what I'm saying? So that's why you play Frogger, you know what I'm saying? You've got to dodge, get out of the way, hop over the logs and shit." Then, paraphrasing Ol' Dirty Bastard's famous sentiment, the chorus explains how "Atari 2600/It's for the children."