By Micah Drago
AllHipHop Features) Fortnite is everywhere right now, from memes and the news to the UMBC men’s basketball locker room. Back in February, Fortnite solidified itself as the top game with 3.4 million players online at once.
If you’re old and dusty and wondering what Fortnite is, it’s a popular multi-platform battle royale game. Battle royale games are basically a video game version of The Hunger Games; players start with nothing and have to search for guns to fight to the death. 100 play, but only 1 wins.
So why does all of this matter in the context of Hip-Hop? Last week, Twitch streamer and Fortnite pro Ninja teamed up with Drake for what was the largest stream by an individual streamer in Twitch history, drawing 628k viewers at its peak. Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster even joined in for a few matches.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Hip-Hop and video games come together. The two may not be as intertwined as rap and sports, but you can find video game references and influence all throughout rap.
In honor of this unlikely yet entertaining moment, here are some of the best fusions of Hip-Hop and video games.
5. Beanie Sigel - “Mac Man”
A hardened street vet like Beanie Sigel may be the last person you’d expect to pick up the sticks, but his 2000 song “Mac Man” was a masterclass in video game metaphors. The beat is mostly comprised of Pac-Man eating dots while Beans imagines a world where he and his video game cohorts run the drug game. Donkey Kong, the Mario Brothers, and Frogger all play a hand in the virtual trafficking that makes this one of the best video game–related tracks of all time.
4. Def Jam video games
If you’ve never played the Def Jam video games, stop reading this, buy them off eBay, and dust off your PS2. As gimmicky as these games looked, all but the first actually had really solid fighting mechanics and a fire story mode. Plus, who wouldn’t want to beat the hell out of people with N.O.R.E. or show somebody what happens when you don’t move for Luda?
4. NBA Street Vol. 2
There were so many great things about NBA Street Vol. 2, from the odd cast of characters to the classic commentary. But what I remember most about this game is the soundtrack. As soon as the game is done loading, you’re greeted with Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).” From there, you get everything from Redman and MC Lyte to Erick Sermon, Nate Dogg and Eve.
As far as video game soundtracks go, that’s a hard lineup to beat.
2. Sonic the Hamilton mixtape
A lot of rappers like video games, but few have dedicated an entire mixtape and persona to it. For Charles Hamilton, Sonic the Hedgehog is more than a video game. Sonic the Hamilton was not only a great mixtape, it was unique; it used samples from the games’ various zones and was absolutely packed with Sonic references.
This is a great tape if you like some nostalgia in your music, and it’s one of the better Charles Hamilton projects.
1. “Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis…”
These words are so iconic that even the whitest of suburban dads could probably finish the bar for you. A Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis might not sound like much to today’s youth, but it was the stuff of dreams at one point in time. And for somebody who came from nothing and became the king of New York, these words symbolized a historic rise.
22 years later, BIG’s “Juicy” is still one of the most popular Hip-Hop songs and the blueprint for anybody on the come-up.