“Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this
50 inch screen, money green leather sofa
Got two rides, a limousine with a chauffeur” ~ Notorious BIG, Juicy

The chronological intersection between the rise of video games in America and hip hop is undeniable.  Both were considered to be niche genres in the 1980’s that exploded onto the scene in the 1990’s and now consume the mainstream’s attention on a daily basis.   It only makes sense that these hip hop artists would sample some beats from their favorite video games when they went to produce track.  We’re taking a look at 5 of our favorite samples from video games over the years.

Dom Kennedy, “Locals Only”


Chrono Trigger, Super Nintendo

“I’m warmin up California this is yo candle
And I never had a video on no channel
I saw your name on a sign that said show cancelled
The charm of a college kid with them pro handles”

Chrono Trigger is considered by some to be the greatest RPG ever made and Dom Kennedy does right by the 16 bit classic with this look into Los Angeles life.  Dom aspires to receive the sort of acclaim that Chrono Trigger has gotten but he’s certainly got the time.  The sample comes from Yasunori Mitsuda’s “Secret of the Forest” in particularly hazy stage in the middle of Chrono Trigger.

Eminem, J. Black & Masta Ace, “Hellbound”


Soul Calibur, Dreamcast

“Analyze the strength of my game, like Lee Corso
Call me a lost soul, with a vest on my torso
And of course, yo, y’all know I’m no stranger to danger
Like Christ in a manger, feel a whole range of my anger” ~ Masta Ace

Masta Ace and Eminem had a long standing beef, well, it was a bit one sided really.  People complained that Marshall Mathers had ripped off Masta’s style and being the principled MC that Masta Ace was he didn’t want to capitalize off of it.  When that was squashed and they recorded together they couldn’t have picked a better style of game than the legendary combat game Soul Calibur.  For Eminem and Masta Ace they gained notoriety in legendary ciphers so having them rap over the Soul Calibur beat was just too perfect.

Jay Z feat. DMX, “Money, Cash, Hoes”


Golden Axe, Sega Genesis

“Roc-A-Fella foreva CEO what what
Us the villains, f**k your feelings
While yall playa hate we in the upper millions
Whats the dealings (huh) its like New York’s been soft
Ever since Snoop came through and crushed the buildings” ~Jay Z

A song that was perfectly emblematic of an era of late 1990’s hip hop utilizes a sample from Golden Axe, a delightful co-op game for Sega Genesis that has gone on to inspire countless games of its ilk.  Swizz Beats, a huge fan of gaming to this day, produced the track and couldn’t help himself from grabing a sample from Golden Axe, one of his favorite games.

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony “Eternal” (1995)


Eternal Champions, Sega Genesis

“Let loose wid ah buckshot blastin’
Bone up outta the cut and we buckin’
Eternally here to stay in the khaki suits and the high tec boots
Oops I’m comin’ wid troops, fools
Be ready ta shoot collectin’ my loot” ~ Layzie Bone

In 1993, Sega was trying to compete with fighting game franchises Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, so they tried their hand in the arena with Eternal Champions. Sticking to the theme of 1999 to infinitely, Bone Thugs created “Eternal,” a cut that showcases each of their styles through a menacing and somber backdrop. Producer/DJ U-Neek takes music from the Sega Genesis fighting game to keep the consistency going. Many fans of Eternal Champions knew that the game had awesome music, including U-Neek, who also sampled the bad ending credits on “Crossroads.”

J Cole “Dollar and a Dream III”


Kingdom Hearts II, Playstation 2

“Mozart meets Humphrey Bogart with this from the heart shit
Play your part, life is but a dream for me
I get a flash of nightmares where n****s scheme on me
It’s hard to see my enemies; who infiltrated my team?”

J. Cole’s  “Dollar and a Dream III,” which appeared on his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, is pretty much him going in for the duration of the song about a mental quest to get through his own thoughts.  Its a true triumph as a storyteller so picking a Kingdom Hearts II beat to sample is quite fitting.  Kingdom Hearts is a borderline bizarre series of games that features some of the most famous Disney characters in an epic RPG quest that goes much darker than anything you would normal associate with Mickey and Goofy.  J Cole’s always been kind of a different dude to the hip hop game so the idea of him logging the 60+ hours necessary to complete this game doesn’t seem far fetched.