The Big News!

Have you heard? The new NBA 2K13 Soundtrack was executive produced by Jay-Z! Wait, what does that mean? Essentially it means that Jay-Z picked some songs and approved other songs chosen by other people for the video game soundtrack. Typically in the music industry the term Executive Producer is reserved for the individual who oversees production, distribution, and promotion. Since many of the songs featured on the NBA 2K13 Soundtrack were recorded prior to the games development it is more likely that Jay-Z and his team hand picked songs with very little production management involved. That’s not to say that Jay-Z isn’t talented, simply it is as if they are capitalizing more on his name than his abilities. Plus he has a number of songs featured on the soundtrack.

Why So Much Hip-Hop?

Basketball is primarily an urban sport. Although it was invented by a Canadian-American Doctor in Springfield, Massachusetts it has become the favorite sport of urban dwellers across the United States. Without an abundance of fields for baseball, soccer, football or other field sports, basketball became a popular activity among inner city youths sometime in the mid twentieth century. Since then the sport has been dominated by urban athletes and urban culture. Hip Hop has been closely tied to basketball since the music genre is also popular among urban youths. But history sucks, and Hip Hop & Basketball Video Games are fun. So now for the actual soundtrack review.

The Good, The Bad and The Jay-Z

The NBA 2K13 Soundtrack is not a huge disappointment. In fact it is quite interesting to see so many artists who are at the top of their game. Nas, Jay-Z and Kanye West are household names. The songs from these artists are perfect for basketball. “Run This Town” by Jay-Z evokes confidence and pride in the ability to own your opponent on the court. “Amazing” by Kanye West inspires energy and enthusiasm. “The World Is Yours” by Nas is a Hip-Hop Classic and is perfect for this game. However, some of the other choices seem to fall flat. While great songs in their own genre, I didn’t feel that U2, The Hours or Coldplay really belonged on this list. It’s almost as if they’re accommodating everyone by throwing in a few random songs while the feel of the soundtrack is mostly all hip hop. Too $hort hasn’t been good since he retired and came back 16 years ago. Too $hort is almost 50 years old and he’s still rapping about pimpin’ hoes. I shouldn’t have to say more. Eric B and Rakim are a good choice for the NBA 2K13 Soundtrack but I would have liked to see more classic hip hop of this style. Some Tupac, EPMD, Dr Dre, OutKast, Wu-Tang Clan or Raekwon would be nice. Previous 2K Soundtracks have featured artists like Chali2na of Jurassic 5 which I think works very well in this format and I would have liked to see something similar again. The new “Underground” artists featured on the NBA 2K13 Soundtrack are somewhat of a disappointment in my opinion. It’s as if they are mainstream before they make it. If you sound pop before you get big, your chances of producing any good music are slim. Justice and Daft Punk work well in this list but I wasn’t overly impressed with the lineup. That may be because its mostly Jay-Z and I’m not a huge Jay-Z fan, but in the end I would give it a C+. Nothing to call home about, but nothing to be ashamed of either. A passing grade for one of the biggest video game franchises and hip-hop’s most prominent name.

NBA 2K12 Soundtrack List
The Hours “Ali in the Jungle”
Too Short “Blow The Whistle (Main)”
Eric B. and Rakim “I Ain’t No Joke”
Phoenix “1901″
Jay-Z “Pump It Up (Freestyle)”
Puff Daddy and the Family “Victory” (feat. Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes
Daft Punk “Around the World (Radio Edit)”
Santigold “Shove It” (feat. Spank Rock)
Kanye West “Amazing”
Jay-Z “Run This Town”
The Dirty Projectors “Stillness is the Move”
Nas “The World is Yours”
Coldplay “Viva La Vida”
Roy Ayers “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby”
Justice “Stress”
Jay-Z “The Bounce”
Kanye West “We Major” (feat. Nas & Really Doe)
Mobb Deep “Shook Ones, Pt. II”
Meek Mill “Ima Boss — Instrumental”
Kanye West “Mercy” (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz)
U2 “Elevation”
Jay-Z “On to the Next One”
Jay-Z “Public Service Announcement”
Jay-Z “H.A.M. (Instrumental)”

iTunes and Amazon links will be added when available.

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Sam Miller is an freelance artist (painting) and web designer. Sam's artwork and paintings can be found at http:/// He also maintains a popular Hip Hop blog based around the group that he represents, Bad Habitat, at You will find news on their upcoming show dates as well a general hip hop news there.


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