F*ck Rock Band and Guitar Hero, Where’s Rap Band and Hip-Hop Hero?

There’s an nteresting article over at the Freakonomics blog on NYtimes.com about Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and how the video game industry is saving the music business. This is not really a new sentiment, people have been ruminating on what the popularity of Rock Band and Guitar Hero has been doing for the music business since the games hit the market. The great thing about this article, though, is that there are some actual statistics provided that prove just what a boon these games have been. A couple quick bullet points, quoted directly from the article

–”Weezer’s ‘My Name is Jonas,’ a song originally released in 1994, saw a tenfold increase in sales when included in Guitar Hero 3.”

–”A special version of Guitar Hero focused entirely on Aerosmith’s music resulted in more revenue for the band than any individual Aerosmith album.”

–”Motley Crüe’s single ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ premiered in the Rock Band Music Store day and date with its single release, and it sold more than five times as many units there as it did on iTunes in its first week.

–”Back in July, twelve of the The Who’s greatest hits were released for Rock Band, and in two weeks, fans purchased over 715,000 tracks. During the same two-week period, all twelve tracks experienced a 159 percent increase in SoundScan sales. (SoundScan measures physical CD sales, as well as digital music sales.)”

Holy snikeys! With results like that, it’s a wonder that Harmonix (the company that makes Rock Band, and first created Guitar Hero) hasn’t rushed back to their lab to create a Hip-Hop version of the game. I mean, can we live?

Perhaps not. See, there’s all types of legal problems with making a rap version of games like these, because hip-hop music incorporates so many elements of other’s peoples tracks, in the form of sampling. Some of the most famous hip-hop tracks, at least the ones people would want to play in a room with their friends, are built on samples of other musician’s works.

That’s not to say there aren’t a fair amount of hip-hop tunes that are completely original. There are. But while playing something like Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” might be cool, it might also be incredibly boring, considering that the beat– like a lot of hip-hop tracks– is just a continuous loop. So a hip-hop version of rock band would be like a real stripped down version, call it rock band lite, where you really don’t have to do shit except play the same thing over and over for four minutes.

Plus, what would the instruments in Rap Band be? Would you get like a little toy version MPC and a keyboard?

I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I’ve heard a rap version of these games is being developed though. It sounds logical. Would people gravitate towards it? I think so. As simple as some rap tunes are, I know a gang of folks– people who ain’t really into all that rock shit– would love to do a rendition of “The Message” , as opposed to some random rock song.

And that’d be awesome for the pioneers of hip-hop as well. This would be a great opportunity to have their music heard by a younger generation, in a much more influential and endearing way than something as short-lived as an installment of VH1′s Hip-Hop Honors.

Like, there’s a new game coming out based on the Beatles music.

Could you imagine a Run DMC version of Rap Band? How about a Wu-Tang Clan version?


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  • miles archer

    Yo, i JUST had this conversation like 2 weeks ago while some cats i know were playing rockband.
    I said a MPC type machine for the drums, 2 turntables to loop the sample, on time, and a mic.
    That shit would be BANNANNASSSS!!!!!


    • jovan mitchell

      I agree that would be dope

  • capcobra

    if kids wanna hear old school hip hop on a game…tell ‘em to play grand theft…..even more than that…you seen the commercial where they playing eazy e song?…they actually let eazy say “this is the season of the real niguz”…listen to it next time thecommercial on.

  • gooch

    yeah i saw the Eazy commercial. That shit got me by surprise. I was taking a shave, and had the TV on in the other room and heard Eazy and ran out like WTF? That was crazy

  • FlapJack

    There actually is some sort of rap-game for ps2, though I have no idea how it works.. they should just make like a drum- edition ov guitar hero and put some beats to it.. wouldn’t have to be all hip-hop, just not all corny old rock. I could enjoy that

  • http://dronkmunk.com dronkmunk

    Was gonna post a link here, but just google DJ Hero (its a game)

  • LEO

    word up…I’ve been waiting for that shit…they can do a whole joint based on the roots…who can do the best Quest? the instruments can be a mic, drums, and um…another mic for your hypeman? or some sort of turntables? oh shit!!! what about a game called: The DJ!!! two turntables and a mic…yo…

    • Dub Sac

      mic, drums, and um…another mic for your hypeman?

      Then you could put out the Hypeman special edition – Flav, Bleek and that dude from Cypress Hill!

      “Insane in the brain!”

  • Curtis75Black

    If they were to produce a Hip Hop version of these games, it would be very interesting to see how they could put it down. I mean it would generate crazy intrest in me since I don’t fuck with video games like that anymore. Plus a ton of money for the artists and the artist they sampled. Imagine “welcome to the terrordome” by PE, “wicked” by Ice Cube or “mams said” by LL. It would be crazy, if done right.

  • Enlightened

    They did it. It was called MTV Music Generator and you can make some hard ass beats with that. They had a part two. All they have to do is make a Part Three for the new generation games and it’s on.

  • Gooch

    MTV Music Generator is way different from Rock Band and Guitar Hero

  • Rob The Music Ed

    The homie B.Dot actually kicked this idea to me about a year ago. SMH.
    You could do something cool with turntables or some shit.

    Guitar Hero is the shit, but I would LOVE a hip-hop version.



    The news is all over the net, and its been getting some buzz. ActiVision is working on a Hiphop series of these games. They already trademarked the names, and I did some research. Its in development. So dont worry, we got ours!

    DJ Hero
    MC Villian
    Beatmania(its in Japan already! Them Japs fucks HEAVY with Hiphop!)

    They said DJ Hero is still in development and it should be out by May! Im coppon it…

  • http://www.pmpworldwide.com AZ

    Nice idea Gooch but the effect will be limited by Hip Hop lack of respect for not only its pioneers (thus the ‘old school’ term) but for the artform all together since the marketing of the end results of the process became more respectful than the skill/talent