5 Hip-Hop Tracks That Sample Video Game Music (Besides “Hotline Bling + “Cha Cha”)

When you get sick of watching Drake try to dance, check out these songs.

-By Zack Sigel

Drake’s “Hotline Bling” is reminding people a little too much of a certain theme song from Super Mario World. That’s because it was modeled after D.R.A.M.’s hit “Cha Cha,” which samples the “Star World” theme. So after you’ve gotten sick of Drake trying to dance in the new video for “Hotline Bling”, check out these other hip-hop tracks that sampled classic video game music.

When sampling video game music, the best tracks are often the most subtle. Overworld themes, especially in obscure locations like forests and rivers, dominate this list, as do tracks with a more personal edge that were meant to recall characters within the game. (You won’t find “One Winged Angel” here.) And they work best when married to other instruments, layered under snares and bass by a skilled composer.

  1. Drake – “6 God”

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    Sampled David Wise – Donkey Kong Country 2 – Haunted Hall (50 seconds in)

    The sequel to Donkey Kong Country for the SNES was easily the best addition to the series. You take Diddy and Dixie Kong through swamps and pirate ships in order to rescue the family patriarch, with a host of new moves at your disposal and a shady world of cudgel-swinging crocodile men standing in the way.

  2. Childish Gambino – Eat Your Vegetables

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    Sampled David Wise – Donkey Kong Country – Aquatic Ambience

    Donkey Kong Country received rave reviews for its score, which dared to explore complex musical compositions on a 16-bit MIDI platform. The result is at turns inky and brilliant, and “Aquatic Ambience,” which plays over underwater levels, conjures images of vast watery landscapes.

  3. Chief Keef – Go Harder

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    Sampled Yoko Shimomura – Super Mario RPG – Forest Theme

    In one of the more unlikely combinations on the mix, the often gun-toting rapper samples a cartoony video game set in the playful universe of Super Mario. In Square’s RPG rendition of Mario, the characters are given life unlike ever before, with thoughts and concerns that inform their actions in the game in a way that can only be described as adorable.

  4. Wiz Khalifa – Never Been

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    Sampled Yasunori Mitsuda – Chrono Trigger – Schala’s Theme

    In Chrono Trigger, the protection of a character named Schala has the potential to alter history itself. Her theme, at once optimistic and a little mournful, reflects the dying civilization she comes from, whose technological prowess could not outstrip the greed of its rulers.

  5. Lil B – I Love You

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