Hip Hop is a music genre that has heavily influenced many video game themes over the years. The themes set a game apart, and developers often draw from all manner of weird and wonderful places for their top titles. Hip Hop is a great theme popular from Las Vegas to New York City, London to Melbourne, and that gives a games developer a great market to push their product.

Bands and music have often been the themes for video games, and that’s been the case throughout time. Bands have had their own video game spin-offs; rock fans could surely not forget Revolution X, the Aerosmith video game, or Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child. It isn’t just guitar-wielding metalheads who get their games either: popular EDM act Deadmua5 seems an unlikely source of inspiration for a video game.

However, they feature on a Ladbrokes online slot game of the same name and appear on DJ Hero as a playable character, alongside Daft Punk. Sadly, as Polygon explains, this was the closest Daft Punk fans ever got to their own game. Still, many artists have had their own titles; even Michael Jackson had his own video games; Moonwalker on the Sega, and an iOS release called The Experience. Throughout time, acts of all types have spawned video games or influenced the game’s settings.

That leads us nicely to urban music, which has such strong imagery and themes it will always make a great basis for a video game. Some draw heavily from the influences without a direct band tie in, whilst other games hook directly onto popular acts to drive popularity through their branding. What are the most popular hip hop influenced video games you can play today? Well, we’ve selected some of the very best for you here:

Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style

Games today often have many quests, side games, and the like, but the beat ‘em up was a popular genre back in the late nineties. The premise is simple; two players square off against each other in a simple fight. It might not quite be enough to carry a game today, but two decades ago, they were insanely popular. This release tried to stand out from the crowd by using the Wu-Tang clan, mixing video clips with fight scenes to build up a story of sorts. It was, and still is, great fun to play.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

One type of game that never gets old is the shooter, and to make sure they got ahead with their release, developer Swordfish Studios used rap icon 50 Cent on this 2009 drop. The prequel was called Bulletproof, which we know 50 Cent isn’t, and was published by THQ, who had a good record with hip hop themed games. The story featured 50 Cent and G-Unit fighting to retrieve a diamond-encrusted human skull. As you do.

Saints Row 2

THQ had already published one of the most popular open-world hip hop themed games of all time before the 50 Cent game; Saints Row 2. Game Revolution explains how fans have been eager to see remasters of the first two titles, heavily influenced by Grand Theft Auto. The games were among the first to deliver an open world teeming with opportunities, such as car customization and deep side missions.

The early games remain popular today, despite later releases becoming grotesque caricatures of the first two games. Don’t despair, though; fans of the series will soon be able to get back to basics as a new Saints Row game is due in early 2021. That’s right; your favorite Hip Hop gang are back for more on the latest generation of console.

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