In 2014 a trailer released for Mortal Kombat X. The screen displayed a forest bed partially covered in snow, scored by a bell and timpani-laced string section. As the camera pans right ice begins to crawl up the base of the trees, revealing the Lin-Kuei cryomancer Sub-Zero. Cut to a battle-ready Scorpion standing in ash and snow near still-smoldering tree trunks. The fight begins with a knee to the chest coincided with the familiar sound of an 808. Did a beat just drop? A TRAP beat? This was the most hyped I’d been for a game’s music, at least from what I remember at the time. This was a Wiz Khalifa song…. In an OFFICIAL Mortal Kombat trailer… Whoa…my hype immediately intensifies. That’s when the hate started. Tweets about how NetherRealm Studios used the ‘wrong song’. How ‘rap doesn’t fit Mortal Kombat’ and ‘rock would’ve been better’. People even went so far as to edit their own trailers with alternate music. Some with the movie theme, some with random rock music, anything as long as it wasn’t rap. In 2018 the MK 11 trailer using “Immortal” by 21 Savage received the same treatment. I don’t remember rap fans in a rage over Gary Jules’ rendition of “Mad World” being used in Gears of War. Pretty sure there was no outrage for Country Roads in Fallout 76’s trailer, which brings me to this: Instead of counter complaints or some pretentious think piece on the use of hip-hop in video games, I want to share a drop of nostalgia with the like-minded gamers/rap fans out there. So, here’s a handful of times rap got me hyped to play video games. Note: The Def Jam series is the default example for hip-hop/rap in videogames and as such will not be used here.
April 17, 2023