Friday, January 9, 2009

Video Game Hip Hop (This Doesn't Count As My First Blog!)

Its 3.30 am. I got Flight of the Conchords on the boob tube, Ann Coulter paused (in all of her leonine intensity) in the background of this very window, listening to m-phazes beats and wishing i could catch hold of any one of the multitude of ideas flying thru my brain long enough to compose a funny, entertaining blog about it. Since I began typing I've changed the subject on myself 3 times. 

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned in my old blogs on the Space, but there's always music playing in my mind. It's like a satellite radio station, and my subconscious is the programmer. The only time the music isn't playing is when Im fully focused on music playing on the outside of my mind. (Also during good sex, but I'm trying not to get sidetracked.. so shut up) Normally, during everyday activities, conversations with other people, and the like, the music adjusts its volume accordingly. Then, when conversation ceases, or intense focus isn't needed, it switches the volume way up. (So, if you and I are having a conversation and I burst into a song that DIDNT just come on the radio, or WASNT playing in a car rolling by.. then you've bored me 'til my mind turned the music up on you. My apologies. I don't mean to be rude.) 

So, it stands to reason that this blog, a blog that I do not consider to be the real first  'New Money Machinko' blog (i have a list of topics I want to write about. but I gotta get my mind right so its what its sposedta be), will be about the music thats currently playing in my mind. 

Right now its video game music. I think its because the Simpsons movie alluded to something. I can't remember.. i was doing 4 other things. 

Hip hop and video games obviously have a long standing and thoroughly intertwined relationship. Both rose to significant popularity and more widespread accessibility in the 80s, both are mediums of expression that have deep cultural significance. And they enjoy something of a symbiotic relationship. Rappers enjoy the exposure, and the props, that come along with being featured in popular sports video games such as Madden and NBA Live. And the artists lend the video games (I regret the use of this term) 'street cred', an aesthetic authenticity that aids in the selling of the games to the young, culture (vulture?)- hungry masses. 

But before rappers were submitting material to EA Sports thru EMI, the folks who were composing the music for earlier video games were creating music that shaped the lives and psyches of those same rappers, and the rest of us, too. 

Im certain that, if asked, we can call to mind our favorite 'video game beat' (feel free to leave yours in the comments section, as I have no confidence in my ability to recall them all). Producers have a history of sampling their favorite video games. Of course, as hip hop rose in visibility and popularity, and those Japaese composers and gaming co's came calling for their checks just like other sampled musicians, the practice reacted accordingly. The Nick Fury- produced, Pac- Man sampling Lil Flip song, Game Over, is a classic example of an entertaining video game beat that got popular.. and then got outed. I can't say with complete certainty (damn my memory!) but I do believe that Fury told me that his publishing situ took a complete L on that song. I do know that he made a considerable effort to sample less in future productions. Or at least, less obviously. 

That said, the selfish fangirl in me wants to send a big hug to Eric G, for instance, for his Double Dragon beat, which is an awesome take on D.D. that is masterfully chopped so that it feels like the familiar loop, but has been injected with dope hip hop drums and given a more palatable song format. All the better to rap over. (I'd post it here but I haven't actually contacted Eric G at all about it, and that'd just be foul. LOL)

I always thought 'Mike Tyson's Punch Out's music would make for a great rap song, and Statik Selektah felt the same way when he used the sample in a same- titled beat for his 2007 record "Spell My Name Right", featuring an awesomely scary guy named Big Shug, whom I hadn't heard of, I won't lie. But tough guy rap ALWAYS rocks my world. (sidebar- daggone hip hoppers! how u gon intentionally spell words wrong and then demand that folks spell ya name right? how bout you make it easy on yaself and all of us, Mr. Static Selector?!) 

I guess its still cool to act like you didn't like Fresh Prince raps even back in the days, but when he came out with his "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson", that song, the video game, and Mike being from BK all came together to make that man forever legendary to my young mind. Fuck your chubby pics, urban gossip sites! And had i not been knee- high to a grasshoppa, when Robin Givens brought her bitch ass on Barbara Walters, I wanted to whoop that trick, too! 


One game that I always wished would be sampled, but I've never heard it done (and if my Reason wouldnt keep giving me that weird error msg about MIDI drivers and not working, Id make it myself) is Super Mario World 2, on Super Nintendo. It was the first game that let you choose to be other than Mario or Luigi. You could be Princess Toadstool or shawty wit the mushroom hat whose name I don't know. 
The most slept- on thing about this game was the fact that, when you paused it, it played a stripped- down, drums and baseline only version of the composition. 
I would leave the game paused for hours on each board, just to listen to the baseline. It was funky as HELL. and it was different, and happier, on the outside boards. then, when u went underground it became more sinister. Either way, them japanese boys were playing their asses off. 

No one pays me any attention because Im just a girl, and Im not a gamer at all (i stopped caring long ago.. right about around when the games I mentioned became outdated). But, if anyone took the baseline of the 1st board of Super Mario World 2, and made a beat... and that beat made a dope song... well, I'd have no other choice but to give everyone involved a lap dance. 
The End.


New Year, New Money. Machinko.