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Gaming

The 6 worst video game samples in rap music

The Notorious B.I.G once said "Mo' money, mo' problems." He forgot to mention less money leads to mo' misguided samples of video game sounds. Here are the most botched attempts ever

Hip-hoppers are a shameless bunch who will literally rap over anything. The Fugees' Ready or Not borrowed Enya humming, Kanye's Diamonds from Sierra Leone sampled Shirley Bassey, and Cypress Hill's Insane in the Brain is actually built around a braying horse noise from a Mel & Tim track.

Some artists, however, take things too far, sampling audio from their favourite video games in the hope they'll supplement their meagre fanbase with a glut of music-obsessed gamers. Occasionally this practice leads to things you could actually class as music, but more often than not, the resultant songs make you want to do a Van Gogh and chop your ears off.

Over the next few pages, we'll talk you through the six we think are the very worst. Check our flow, uhhh.

PATRONISING AND UNNECESSARY WARNING: Many of the songs on the following pages contain bad language and themes of an adult nature. Anyone under the age of 16 should seek the guidance of a parent or guardian before clicking the links.

 

Eminem's done some terrible things for money. He's sued his own mother, written unsavoury rap fantasies about killing his own wife and -- before he was famous -- even slummed it as a short-order chef, cooking burgers and washing dishes for $5.50 an hour. We can forgive all that, but our affection for the Detroit MC was seriously tested with Hellbound, an unofficially released mixtape travesty inspired by a Dreamcast game.

Listen to the rap version: Hellbound

Listen to the original sample
Sacrifice, Soul Calibur, Dreamcast

Memorable line
"Blow you to fragments, laugh, roll you and smoke the ashes."

Is it any good?
Hellbound is hardly Shady's best work, but Mr Mathers somehow gets away with this, thanks to a tongue-twisting array of rhymes within rhymes, and his usual spectacular wordplay. The fact he's gone on to sell more than 80 million albums worldwide since this track seems to prove it wasn't too bad a move on his part. We'll let this one slide Marshall, but thank your lucky stars you can actually rap.

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We're not overly familiar with U-N-I, but we suspect they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer. One half of the duo, Y-O, is never seen on stage without a NES console under his armpit, while the other is nicknamed Thurzday, because his real name, Koffi, means 'Friday'. They're mad, obviously, but surely even they wouldn't be crazy enough to release a song sampling the bleeps and bongs from a classic 8-bit Nintendo game? Oh, our bad.

Listen to the rap version: Castlevania

Listen to the original sample
Boss rush, Castlevania 3, NES

Quotable
"This rap s*** be the colder life, it's like up down up down AB left right"

Is it any good?
The lyrics make very little sense and the song doesn't actually have anything to do with Castlevania, whips (of any variety) or the only video game hero ever to be called Simon. Watching Y-O prance about on stage, however, clutching a dusty old NES and rapping cheat codes aloud is strangely compelling. It makes an absolute mockery of hip hop, but for some reason we can't stop listening to it.

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A one-time protege of Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel is almost as famous for his raps as he is for being arrested on weapons and drugs offenses. In this ditty, Sigel, who also goes by the names Beanie Mac and Mac Man, attempts to draw parallels between the ghost-dodging, pill-gobbling world of Pac Man, and his own police-avoiding, illicit substance-trafficking lifestyle on the mean streets of Philadelphia. It's pretty poetic, we think you'll agree.

Listen to the rap version: Mac Man

Listen to the original sample
Ms Pac Man, SNES

Quotable
"Sonic couldn't catch me, I'm good at Track & Field."

Verdict:
Beanie Sigel is, as they say, a 'dope spitter', but there's no getting away from the fact that nearly all of the samples lifted from Ms Pac Man sound like armpit farts. We're not sure if rapping over the guffing noises of electronic charaters is tolerated in South Philly, but that sort of thing doesn't really fly in the UK. You've sold out, Beans. Oh, and why sample Ms Pac Man? Are you trying to tell us something?

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Charles Hamilton claims to believe in the 'Super Sonic Philosophy', a religion based on the teachings of Sega's spiny blue mascot. According to his infamous YouTube rant, his belief in the supersonic mammal is derived from a series of undeniable coincidences. 'Sonic' means 'sound' (Charles raps audibly) "hedgehogs bury themselves underground" (Charles buries himself in his music) and Sonic's levels are divided into zones (Charles often gets "in the zone"). Where's my Genesis? is an ode to his love of Sega's 16-bit wonder console, and his worship of Sonic in general.

Listen to the rap version: Where's My Genesis?

Listen to the original sample
'Mystic Cave Zone', Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Mega Drive

Quotable
"Boredom is a killer, I'm at death's door, stuck in the Jewels Zone, I'm at step 4."

Verdict
If you had a mate who openly rapped about worshipping a games character (who wasn't Mario) you'd slap him, wouldn't you? That's exactly what happened when a hapless Charles Hamilton (carrying a Pink Panther purse) was punched in the face by a girl during a rap battle. Charles was later dropped by his record label. Coincidence? We don't think so.

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Statik Selektah is a highly respected figure in the world of hip hop. He's produced several mixtapes with Nas -- arguably the best rapper of all time -- and co-produced music with the legendary DJ Premier -- arguably the best rap producer in the world. Statik made his name creating sample-heavy musical masterpieces then picking the right rapper to pen the lyrics. As a result, we expected nothing short of greatness when he drafted Big Shug to appear on Punch Out.

Listen to the rap version: Punch Out 

Listen to the original sample
Mike Tyson's Punch Out, NES

Quotable
"Hit the head, lay down, count to 10, stay down, you'z a clown, no doubt, getcha ass punched out."

Verdict
We suspect this is the sort of thing they played at Guantanamo Bay to get prisoners to confess to terrorist atrocities. Hell, we owned up to hiding weapons of mass destruction after just one listen. The real atrocity, however, is the fact Statik's hip-hop pass wasn't revoked the second this screechy, irritating, poorly rapped excuse for a song was released.

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You've got to be pretty stupid or totally off your face on sugary sweets to even consider rapping over a video game beat. Regrettably, the Cocoa Brovas (aka Smif-n-Wessun) were both. Feeling invincible after releasing one of the best rap albums of 1995, they decided it would be a great idea to urinate all their credibility up a wall and rhyme over a song originally composed for the ears of 8-year-olds. The result was Super Brooklyn.

Listen to the rap version: Super Brooklyn

Listen to the original sample
Super Mario Bros, NES  

Memorable line
"You can't play me, I'm a general, baby."

Verdict
Like the brothers Mario, the Cocoa Bs were credible in the underground scene (arf!), they hailed from Brooklyn, and most importantly, they were related, so this should have been a musical master stroke. Unfortunately they put all their talent and creativity to one side, sold their hip-hop souls to Satan and delivered one of the biggest sonic travesties of all time. Even the original Mario Bros version was better than this tripe.

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